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Wayne Ellis's Blog
And finally...Rhodes To Wulfrun!      16th February 2009, 5:51pm

We came. We saw. WE ROCKED HARD! St Valentine’s Day saw the behemoth that was ‘Rhodes To Wulfrun – The RhodesRock08 Reunion (Slight Return…)’ after months of anticipation, finally break its’ way out onto the stage of the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton. And what a snarling beast it was! From all accounts it appears to have actually surpassed expectation. Almost 700 past and future Rhodes Rockers, and those who just love a grandiose live spectacle, were held in thrall by two of the finest, most talented tributes – no, ARTISTS – on the circuit today accompanied by yours truly, good ol’ Limehouse.

There was no promoter or agent for this event. The 3 bands not only performed, but masterminded, agreed and brought to fruition the whole shebang, showing self-sufficiency, initiative, motivation – and, given these troubled financial times, probably a healthy dose of self-preservation in the process. In my experience, talent like this usually comes at a price – demands, tantrums, one-upmanship and the like. These boys? Forget it – I swear to you I have never worked with such an easier, likeable, less-demanding bunch. A tribute dream-team!

And so, to the performances…John Campbell fronting Are You Experienced? - THE definitive homage to Jimi Hendrix - opened proceedings. John is my fave tribute for a number of reasons: I’m a Hendrix nut and John just makes me go cold when I watch him. There’s no-one closer. Period. I think Hendrix is so difficult to do because he’s one of those acts where hitting the right notes, whilst obviously massively important, is almost secondary to that emotional vibe. You can’t learn it. You either have it…or you don’t. And that boy has it. In spades. In true rock-rebel style, John imperiously overran his time, leaving the crowd enraptured – with yours truly breaking into an early sweat wondering how an earth we could match that? I mean, dammit, why did he have to do the guitar burning?!? Anything following that is just…lame!

Final spot of the evening went to Letz Zep. Although this was a triple-headline bill, the final slot is always regarded as the unofficial ‘real’ headline slot. So how do you decide who goes on last? In this instance, it wasn’t that difficult; Led Zeppelin have got to be the Biggest Rock Act in the world – even now. Not only that, they weren’t exactly famous for their 3 minute pop ditties. Gargantuan opuses were the order of the day for these guys, creating a need for that bit longer onstage to allow the set to expand and ‘breathe’. So, were Billy Kulke and his crew up to it? First of all, let me tell you about Billy. He’s one of those guys that whether he’s in a tribute band, original act, or a gardener, he is a Rock Star. Even buying his supper down the chippy (unlikely, I know), he is a Rock Star. What makes a Rock Star? Exactly these things – you can’t turn it off. Presence, charisma and a demeanour you could almost mistake for arrogance…until you talk to them and realise they are effortlessly charming the pants…or knickers…off you – irresistible. Ok, a great start but what about onstage? Well, same as with John Campbell, really. The defining moment for me came when I stood at the back, watching the audience going nuts. And when in ‘Whole Lotta Love’ Billy hit the big ‘LOVE’ note, the timing, control, pitch and tension sent me cold. Game over. Any other pretenders Go Home. Or pick through the bits these boys don’t want. Letz Zep were dead on the money and a magnificent ending to an epic evening.

And My Boys? What can I say? To play in Limehouse is a joy. As a bass player, to ‘lean’ against the Great Wall that is the drumming of Andy Fox – well, it doesn’t get much better. To play alongside the precision, speed and stage presence of ‘new boy’ Tim Read, lifts your game. And when my compadre, my partner in crime, ‘No.1’, Greg Alcock, flips on that wah-wah pedal in songs like ’Warrior’, he unleashes hell and brings Armageddon with him. I can only hope you guys get the same kind of kick out of it that we do. As usual, it was our pleasure.

Special thanks: a return ‘home’ for our sound engineer, JT, reunited with the boys supplying the rig, Yorkshire Audio. Mighty, thunderous, awesome, yet sweet, everyone commented on the sound. JT, Phil, Martin & Bob – respect due.

Eddie & Elaine Yates, whose brainchild is the whole ‘Rhodes Rock’ concept, thus indirectly playing a huge part of this event (c’mon, contact them for RR’09 – you won’t regret it!).

JTB - Julian Turner-Bell for grafting that little butt off without a complaint or grumble to be heard.

Philip Lynott – still helping, inspiring, giving.

And finally – you guys. Can I use some clichés? ‘You made it possible’. ‘We couldn’t have done it without you’. But it’s all so true, you were magnificent. And we are all very grateful.

Let me now go on to thank you all for putting up with the empty space on this blog. I have the wonderful excuse of being truly stretched for time in what has been undoubtedly our best year. Bigger venues. Bigger attendances. And incredibly, more fun than ever! You hold the power and we never forget this – thank you for allowing us to make something of a living while being big boys playing at Rock Stars…

I promise I’ll try harder!

Thanks. Til the next time.

 

Tired....but emotional      7th November 2007, 1:19am

AHHHH – it’s been so long…sorry! First off, with regard to the Arena programme, I’d like to thank you all for your wonderful messages. I was genuinely moved and found them truly uplifting and touching.

 It's taken us ages to deal with everything since the broadcast - messages, emails, work offers. It's all been so positive, making me feel very lucky & blessed. Over time we have found that this business attracts so many chancers, fast-buck artists and conmen; it can be so easy after time  to lose sight of the thing that matters the most - the relationship between audience and band. Without that, there are no managers, agents, snotty secretaries, rude crew, jobsworth venue staff...and no band. You guys vote with your feet and that’s that, no matter how red-hot, super-fly we in the business think we are. We can charge as much as we want for a ticket, or even do it for free - if you don't like it, you won't have it. You hold the power. And we are so very grateful that you still seem to approve and allow us to carry on. Your messages to me remind me that we still have a strong bond with some lovely people. 

By the way, many of you have asked if we can provide the whole thing on DVD. Unfortunately, at the moment, the answer will have to remain no until we’re told otherwise but we will look into it.

This years gigs have been nothing short of spectacular – I think the addition of Tim Read has given us our strongest lineup ever (no disrespect intended to any past members). In fact, I’d go as far to say that I think that Tim is possibly the most gifted player we’ve had as a permanent member and he’s also proving to be very popular as a personality, too, with rock-god like stage prescence. 

But also, let’s not forget the other gang members; Greg (No.1), my trusty co-founder and Robbo wah-wah specialist extraordinaire, continues to turn in rock-solid, controlled mayhem, gig after gig. We’ve had some great players pass through our doors, even just helping out – Steve Johnson (the last protégé our Lord Philip actually worked with!), FM’s white lightning Andy Barnett and last but possibly greatest, ex-Terraplane, Taylor Dane, Shakira – you name ‘em, he’s riffed for ‘em – and my own brother in (dis)grace, Rudi Riviere (er, no favouritism, then!) – they’ve all heaped praise on the ego-free, easygoing guitarist’s guitarist that is Greg. 

Then there’s the brick-wall, unswervable rhythm machine powerhouse that is the mighty-mighty Andy Fox. Cruises by on a fifth of his talent – if this boy was pushed, he’d be world-class, trust me. If he was good enough for Robbo……nuff said! And offstage, for the size of the pair of us, me ‘n him giggle – like schoolgirls on helium, at the most ludicrous of stuff. Challenge us, we’ll find stooopid in anything!

 What am I saying, then? Going on 15 years down the line, gigs in thousands, dives, dungeons, khasis, pubs, clubs, theatres, civic halls, arenas, tv, films, festivals, weddings, birthdays, good days, bad days, well-dazed, free gear, nicked gear, ripped gear, broken gear, smoked gear, wrong gear, diahorrea, car, van, crew bus, sat nav, bust diff antiqueing, teabagging, ‘plum gigs’, Limehouse, Chelmsford, Leeds, Bolton, Bunny, Dubai, New York – ahhhhhhh, it’s still a blast!


Err...why has this text turned black? Julian? JULIAN - where are you, you little shi.....

TURKEY, NOT TORQUAY & ITALY, I TELL YE      4th September 2007, 12:42am

Hi to ye's all! Just got back from 2 impromptu hols. First of all, Turkey; never dreamed of going to Turkey, neither wanted to, nor didn't want to. But somebody very kindly offerred us the free use of their STUNNING villa (Sue - what a star you are - bring that boy of yours round for a jam next time we're up the North East!!) for a week - and it was megah! Took me life in my hands and hired a car (bwoy, yuh still MAD, even at you're age exclaimed Pops) and joined the rest of the maniacs on the road - all added to the excitement! Look out for my G-Star teeshirt onstage, it is the coolest genuine fake , amongst other counterfeit contraband I merrily smuggled back to Blighty.

 Then after being home for a day, my sis & me took my old dear for a long weekend over to Florence...no, no, not her old biddy mate with the purple skew-wiff syrup down the West Indian centre - Italy, you fool! Everything about Florence is just sexy - the buildings, the women - god, even the men (gits!)..and even the thieving bar-stewards...er, and waiters. Hired a car again...and managed to end up bang in the middle of a pedestrian square full of folk at 10pm Saturday evening, much to the wrath of the local polizei. Played the Hugh Grant polite-English-buffoon-abroad card - works a treat, even if you do look more like Denzel Washington...ok, Rudolph Walker...ok, ok, Norman Beaton, you rotten dogs, gimme a break, will ya? Anyhow, avoided overnight chokey, so there!

 So..shoulder is off the critical list, 'tho I am now fat as a hog - no gym for 3 weeks and a steady diet of baklawa and pasta have guaranteed a Biggins-like presence for my first couple of weeks back. Oh well - at least I'll be sure to 'eclipse' the rest of the guys for sure, arf, arf! Nah, you watch - lipo, steroids and silicone, the breakfast of champions, shall be my bedfellows for the next week...Missed you all, see you at the jig

THE BLOATER

The Cold Shoulder...      17th August 2007, 4:28am
Sorry peeps - this blog should’ve appeared a week ago but got lost?! Anyways, here you are…

OOOHH! AAAGGHHH! That bloody hurts! Ever torn a muscle? No, not pulled, I mean torn? Man alive, the agony! Odd thing is, tore it on Friday, never felt a thing on Saturday, slight twinge travelling down on Sunday, “OOH MAH GOOD GAWD” on Monday, “Doctor in the house?” on Tuesday, beaten to a pulp on Wednesday…(look, ever since somebody told me I look a bit like Craig David one time, it’s kinda stuck with me, ok?). Lemme tell you, though, nothing can prepare you for the behemoth that is physio extraordinaire Stuart Cosgrove. Raise your arm up to the front, he said; I couldn’t. Now to the side, said he; no can do, boss. Elbow in, forearm to the side? Git outta here, mistah! Then, the horrible truth dawned – these were the same movements he was going to force me to do! You can’t argue with 18-stone-plus of ex-Mr Beefcake – battered me round that physio table like a mewling newborn (and I mean mewling!). How embarrassing! Felt better the morning after but let’s face it, couldn’t have felt freakin’ worse, could I?

 

COWES WEEK – what a glorious shindig! If you’ve never been, you and yours should check it out one time, it’s so worth it. Whether you’re into sailing or not – and it is recognised as the world’s premier sailing regatta, with all levels from amateur, Olympic and World Champion levels all represented (it sez here on Googley) – it’s an amazing experience. It was a pleasure to play (pesky injuries aside!) and it would have been nice to stay longer. Apparently, Friday is a highlight with an amazing firework display amidst some great live entertainment. To Glenn of Fabba Entertainments – a heartfelt ‘thanks’ for involving us and treating us so hospitably.

 

Now, come watch me play at the ‘Snettfest’ this Saturday. It’ll be a bit of ‘armless fun…

P.S. 'Snettfest' been and gone by now - will report laters...


Test, test, 123...      4th August 2007, 9:16am

Folks! Friends! My people! Welcome to our new cyber-home. As you all can see, it is still being set up but hey, aint that always the case when you first move house?

So, we each have this blog thang where we can post our individual thoughts and going-ons. Hmmm, its all new to me. I mean, how am I gonna find time between helping run the lumbering vessel known as Limehouse and being a fake rockstar and housewife to keep this up to date? YOU GOT TO HELP ME, PEOPLE, Im relying on yooz!  I want you to write to me and tell me what you want to know and I promise I will try, lie, evade and ignore all answers where possible, in true politician and diplomat stylee! 

Seriously, tell me what you like and dislike about the show. Tell us if there are any good festivals that we should be playing. Tell us what merchandise you want. Tell us you love us (just joking. I BLOODY AM!)!

STATEMENT FROM ME: Im still passionate about our band. I still love playing Phils music. We still try and set a very high standard. If I look hacked off on satge, it is usually because Im trying so hard and something has gone wrong and it frustrates me if I feel the show is compromised, even if you guys cant see what it is. If I come across as arrogant, its because its my clumsy attempt at trying to copy one of the coolest, greatest talents in rock and I STILL CANT REALLY DO IT! Nor will I be one of those shoe gazing, false humility bores who cant be bothered with their wage paying audience; I would rather dress like a fool, talk like a pompous arse and get you to love or hate me but never commit the crime of being ignored, rather than cause no reaction. You guys pay our wages with your hard earned money and DESERVE ENTERTAINING. You will never mistake Limehouse on stage for an ordinary joe on the street. And finally, don’t be mistaken, my mission is to get you lot to leave a venue thinking “I couldnt have spent my money on anything better tonight”. 

Oh god, be warned, this is a sign of things to come, the ramblings of an ageing space cadet! Gregs will be sensible, Andys will be friendly and Tims will be sweet. MINE WILL BE….erm, mine. Thanks for reading this far. Just pop in and visit me from time to time, like you would your distant uncle in a nursing home. Keeps him sweet, yeah?

Great things, these blogs….
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