While there are plenty of people who are quite happy to be spoon fed and smile, there is an equal number who refuse to swallow it.
...Broken Lines fall into the latter category.
Formed in 2014 in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, Broken Lines is a three-piece who harbour as much piss and vinegar as they do snarling spirit, their sound is impossible to pigeon-hole, let alone cage. Fusing together elements from many genres to form a triumvirate of uncompromising alternative rock.
From the outset they aimed to create exciting, emphatic, absorbing music. Drawing on and harnessing elements of alternative rock, punk, and psychedelia, and with personal influences as varied as New Model Army, Nick Cave and The Pink Fairies, the trio meld styles to make something that is exciting, exhilarating, compelling, vital, and entirely their own. Fast and jagged, slow and smooth, serene and thunderous, Broken Lines take listeners and audiences on a glorious sonic journey, fuelled by genuine passion and propelled by towering musicianship and craft.
Not afraid to speak out on issues that concern them, the band projects a "no compromise" view of the world, delivering the sound of a band backed into a corner and trying desperately not to bite. With their own practice facility and recording suite, Broken Lines have the space and scope to fully commit to conceiving, creating, and recording, as well as honing their prodigious live performance skills. A Broken Lines show is a solid guarantee of an experience not to be forgotten.
The debut album 'Liberation' announced Broken Lines in October 2019 and gave flight to 10 stunning self-penned tracks. With the second album well under way and catchy, hard hitting single releases, Broken Lines deserve to be heard by the widest audience.
I've been involved with music since I was a kid, it has been the one true constant in my life. People come and go but I've always had a bass, it is very special to me.
For the most part I have played bass guitar, which is my instrument of choice, but I am also accomplished with guitars and keyboards and will have a crack at anything. I have a solid interest in the technical side of music from engineering to sound production and have a studio setup where I record my projects.
I've got diverse taste in music and, having grown up with punk, retain the same attitude and outlook that I had as a teenager, along with a wide-ranging appreciation of most music!
At school I started a band with my (still) best mate Mick. We were right in the middle of the punk explosion and everyone was forming bands, so we thought we'd have a go. Like a lot of bassists, I started with the bass because I couldn't play anything! Mick had a little knowledge of music, so we stumbled on in his garage playing Clash songs and writing our own stuff. I was hugely influenced by JJ Burnel of The Stranglers, I never knew the bass could be played like that, so I set about learning all his bass parts. To This day his style can be heard in my playing.
At 19 I played bass with The Varukers, co-writing the seminal album "Another Religion Another War", which to this day is a very popular UK82/D-Beat favourite.
After the Varukers I put Fuse together with a couple of mates and we headed off to Brighton to seek our fortune. Once there I found employment in a rehearsal/pre-production studio and had the privilege of working with some great bands including Primal Scream, Felt and The Levellers.
We also managed to get ourselves on a nationwide tour with Transvision Vamp. It was a great introduction to "big time" touring but was also a very clinical operation. While we were on tour we played in Bradford and struck up a friendship with Rob and Moose from New Model Army, one of my all-time fave bands! After they saw us play they invited us to tour with them the following February.
The New Model army tour for their landmark album "Thunder & Consolation" was one of my greatest experiences. Playing to thousands of people who gave us massive support and friendship, not to mention playing on a stage with a monitoring system designed specifically for a loud bass player!
When touring with New Model Army, Sounds hailed me as "the best bass this side of World Domination Enterprises", high praise indeed! 20 years later I was also one of the few bassists given the opportunity to audition for New Model Army in 2013 as a replacement for their bassist, an excellent experience and somewhat of a highlight for me!
We then moved to London and ended up as part of the squat scene down there. We changed our name to "Tribal Energy" and soon established ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. Putting on alternative rave nights, in partnership with indie circus acts and artists, our crowning glory was putting on the, now infamous, "Squatters Ball", where we invited The Levellers up from Brighton to join us for a great night. Fuse split after 12 years, having felt the band had run its course.
My next project was with a band from Cardiff called SlingShot. The guitarist, Simon (Daffy), was from "The Icons of Filth", another legendary hardcore punk band back in the day, so we had a lot in common.
It was with this band that I found a life-long musical partner in the shape of Christine, the singer in the band. We recorded an album entitled "Animal Farm" and released it via Wolf Entertainment, who have now also signed Broken--Lines. Once that was done the band drifted apart mostly because of distance between the members.
Christine and I formed a writing partnership called Violet Wylde. Christine has the most extraordinary voice that never ceases to amaze me. I write and record all the music and she puts the most exciting vocals together, always something I am never prepared for, and always perfect for the music. We get together roughly once a year to add to our catalog but again, distance, and other band commitments, make it difficult to do much more. We are musical soul mates and that is fine by me!
I did an online band project with members from Internal Autonomy, calling ourselves Feroxide. We released a few albums to great critical acclaim. As an online project it was a really good achievement!
Finally, I spotted a couple of wily looking characters looking for a bassist on FaceBook. As they were relatively close, and the music was to my taste, I messaged them. Jack and Dave came over with cake! It was shockingly obvious that there was a massive fraternal bond to be had, even before playing together, so we agreed to give it a go and, as they say, the rest is history (well... documented elsewhere on the site!).
Nowadays Jack and Dave are like brothers to me and things just keep getting better and better!
So, 40 odd years on since I first picked up a bass (thanks Nige) I still have the same love for my instrument and intend to grow old extremely disgracefully!
I am loud, proud and slightly round!
For those interested my gear is:
Fender American Standard Precision Bass - Black Fender American Standard Precision Bass - Olympic White Fender American Standard Jazz Bass - Olympic White
My amplification: Ashdown Engineering ABM EVOII 900 Head into 4 x 10 and 1 x 15 ABM cabinets. Ashdown Engineering RM-800-EVO 800w Rootmaster Head into a RM-610T-EVO 900w 6 x 10 cabinet.
I am very proud to be a listed Ashdown Artist and considers them to be the best bass amplifiers bar none.
Hare Krishna... Mark
I started off small, while thinking big, at the outset of my musical career. The main requirement that came with playing the triangle in a school brass band was the ability to count the exact amount of bars before a) it needed hitting, or b) you fell asleep. Whichever came first. This could sometimes be just once in a two-hour concert!!! I’d had my eye on the snare drum for some years but was no match, at 12 years old, for the predatorial six former who guarded and played it on every occasion. I gave up the brass band and joined the orchestra where I got to play ‘second’, and then ‘first’, violin within a far more egalitarian environment.
My big break came a couple of years later at 15 years old when a friend’s Hungarian mother, Mrs Domonkos, offered me a loan of £50 in order to buy a drum kit so that I could play in a band with her bass-playing son, Paul! I accepted the offer and along with Des on guitar/vocals we formed a covers band, The Shy Tots... Geddit?
I left soon after having met some like-minded kids at school who were into both the newly emerging punk scene and writing their own songs.
At 15, in 1975, I became the drummer for The VIce Squad. We bought a clapped-out old green Ford Transit van and went on to play gigs all over the North of England supporting such bands as Adam and the Ants (I got to use the drummer’s drum kit) and Sham 69 (they wouldn’t share the dressing room so we had to change in the toilet). It was then that I also discovered that my nameless, but beautiful-sounding drum kit, bought with the loan, wasn’t actually a disgustingly tacky, wood-finished-crappy-vinyl-covered skiffle kit, but a beautiful off-white Premier kit! Ahhhhhhhhh! Somebody had spent a lot of time covering it!? More to the point, I’d discovered that I had an affinity with my drums and no regrets about leaving the brass band. Two albums later The Vice Squad disbanded and I went to art college to study Graphic Design, having re-sat my A-Levels.
I’ve played with an eclectic mix of musicians from cabaret-type-working-mens-club turns through to sultry late-night Covent Garden wine bar jazz ensembles. Not forgetting the three-piece Dolly Parton send-up skiffle band I performed with at many of the Vic Reeves comedy nights down at Goldsmiths Tavern, in London. Forever gleening and learning and eventually culminating in the band I now play with.
In 2008 I had a brief spell drumming with a band that Dave had just formed, Bikini Red, but it was early days for them and I was drawn to the brighter and more established lights of the Punk-Surf-Indie band, The Ray Guns, who were in need of a new drummer. The music was some of the best I’ve ever played and totally fitted my style. However, after two successful albums, storm clouds began to form and I was pushed into leaving by the junior-school-playground approach of the ‘management’ i.e. the guitarist/songwriter’s missus. I quit.
In 2012-14 I had a fantastic time drumming and touring the UK, Europe and Finland, thanks Harry! with psychedelic space gods, Sendelica, before joining my present band, Broken Lines.
It just keeps getting better.
I’ve always had an interest and a simmering passion for music, especially guitar and synth based stuff. I didn’t start playing guitar until my early twenties, trying to get my head around the basic chords whilst listening to guitarists like David Gilmour, John Lee Hooker and Hendrix and wondering why I was bothering!
My first true collaborative experience came in 2001 when I worked with a good friend of mine and amazing sound artist, David Handford. He introduced me to the world of synths and completely opened my mind to where you can go with sound, I am eternally grateful to him for opening my ears and guiding me to a totally different sonic world. He also gave me the confidence to go for it as I realised that I could do anything with sound and my journey really began.
My first band experience was with a group of good friends in 2002, we played a selection of our favourite, mainly blues inspired covers. It was great fun and I worked with a good friend of mine Kev Griffiths who guided and inspired me with my guitar playing. This was my first introduction to Jack Jackson on drums. We played at a few friend’s parties and had lots of fun, but it also seemed to be the catalyst for pretty much every member of the band to split with their partners!! We disbanded!.
My next band project was with Bikini Red in 2008. I had decided by this point that I only wanted to write my own material and develop my own songs. The band was formed with some good friends; Alex Bray, Jake Hollyfield, Peter Kinsey and initially, Jack on drums. Jack was then offered the opportunity to play with a great local band; The Ray Guns and he went for it. Jack was replace by a great local drummer, Joe Turner. We had a lot of fun writing our own music, I’d come up with the words and the basic structure and then we’d all work on making it sound like a proper song. We played a few local gigs and I learned a great deal from the experience. After our biggest and best gig in Tenby we realised that we now had different ideas on where to go next and with some of the band looking to moving away, we decided to call it a day.
I continued to work on and write new material and decided it would be fun to start jamming with a good friend of mine, Ed Edmonds. We got together in 2013 and made lots of noise with distorted guitars, like two crazy teenagers, it was great! He would come up with lyrics and I would improvise a tune and we were creating stuff at an impressive rate…so we decided we should try and get something more solid together. I got my friend Alex Bray (from Bikini Red) to play bass and Ed found a local drummer, Misha Burnham to come and play with us. The first session was awesome, if not a little cramped in our garden shed and we decided to go for it and found a space to practice and at a local brewery! The beginnings of Broken--Lines was formed. Over a period of about 12 months and after a number of personnel changes, Broken Lines had a set of solid songs and a committed band was formed, comprising myself, Peter Brierton on Bass and Misha on drums. We decided to practice at Misha’s house, which was fun as his place is totally off-grid! We had 3 years of great fun, creativity and a number of very successful local gigs.
In 2017, Jack became available to play with us and he joined the band on keyboards / synth. His contribution to the band was immense and we had a number of very inspiring practice sessions and gigs. At this point I felt I really wanted to push the Broken--Lines further and took the bold step of taking a time-out as I needed time to consider how to move forward and what I wanted to do. I decided to part company with Pete and Misha, whilst Jack and I started looking for a new bass player. After a couple of initial possibilities we were contacted by Mark Briscoe at the end of 2017. His experience, ability and musical knowledge have taken Broken Lines to whole new and exciting level…