So what does Cornwall, Volkswagen and Gibson have in common?

The answer is Pop of Ages’ band manager Dave, and here’s why;

Cornwall

This month we have been mostly… sat in the van on the M5!
Traffic is appalling and these days when planning journeys from our base in Swindon to venues in Cornwall we have to factor in traffic jams, motorway delays and tailbacks. We’ve got to every venue on time, and have had the pleasure of performing in various Cornish locations for a myriad of events this year, especially during August!

FACTOID: Pop of Ages were the first band (in fact the first anything) to perform at The National Maritime Museum, Falmouth.

One of Cornwall’s premier visitor attractions, the museum’s build was only just completed and it hadn’t even been opened to the public when our four piece band performed for a wedding reception – guests danced the night away in historic maritime surroundings. Happy memories.

Our band manager Dave is the main point of contact for band bookings – this August Bank Holiday weekend the band travelled to Kennards House, Trethorne Leisure Park, Launceston for a Birthday Party celebration. After packing down and loading the van we then popped down through Truro to Falmouth to stay overnight with my parents. We all had a spot of lunch at the Halfway House pub on the way from Penryn to Helston. Then we’re back up to Harlyn Sands near Padstow for some Holiday Camp cabaret fun, own beds after that then onto Bridgwater Somerset to perform for a Cancer Research Fundraising dance. Exhausting but thoroughly good fun and plenty of positive feedback received from our customers.

Pop of Ages’ Volkwagen T4;

Dave is the driving force behind the band – literally. We get to and from venues with Dave at the wheel in our trusty Volkswagen T4 van and it’s taken a real beating this year – particularly in August when we seemed to be touring Cornwall, Devon and Somerset literally every weekend. From Ocean Blue in Exmouth to a marquee in Lydford Gorge, a Golf Club in Plymouth to Walkhampton Village Hall in Dartmoor, we certainly get to see some beautiful scenery in this job.

Knowing a fabulous local car mechanic certainly helps keep it tip-top (and let’s face it, Dave is great at many things but is no mechanic) and we certainly racked up the miles with the various weddings, birthday parties and charity fundraising events in the last month.

Keeping everything in working order is an absolute necessity in this job. I’ll admit that occasionally someone (normally Dave) has to do a quick bulb change or mic battery replacement, but that’s nothing compared to breaking down on the way to gig – and it’s pretty much thanks to band manager Dave that has never happened, ever.

Gibson 335 Guitars

Our Dave has recently acquired a 1982 blonde Gibson 335 (from his father-in-law, my dad) which I think is a work of art.

This little beauty is so good to look at that my father had it on display, just like an old master, ever since he hung up his own musical boots in the 90’s. It hasn’t been played in earnest for 20 years so when Dave decided he wanted to ‘gig’ it, some serious TLC was required.

So… on the way to a Cancer Research Charity Fundraising Event near Bridgwater, Somerset, the whole band descended upon legendary guitar luthier Kim Webber to drop off the guitar so he could work his magic to restore this wonderful Gibson 335 to it’s former glory. Myself and Marc drank coffee outside in the van whilst Dave had a thorough consultation with Kim.

A lovely chap and luthier to the stars – the last time we met Kim he was in the process of building Jack Black’s ‘Tenacious D; The Pick of Destiny’ guitar so we obviously had to wait our turn. Thanks Jack, but that guitar did look mighty fine!

My own childhood memories include my dad’s on-stage sound – defined at first by his Cherry 1961 Gibson 335, then the blonde newcomer from 82 onwards. Full bodied, warm and woody – describing it’s sound is like trying to describe a fine wine but the tone quality of a 335 is part of my psyche and instantly recognisable.

Dad’s old ’61 cherry (I believe) is currently being played by the fabulous Robben Ford (shown left) who also regularly performs with the legend that is Larry Carlton. I couldn’t think of a better home for it than on stage with these two guys!

Dave currently plays a vintage Fender Strat and has done for the last 30 years and it’s the perfect workhorse for the band’s sound and music playlist. However I honestly can’t wait until the blonde Gibson 335 makes it way into the van, onto the stage and into Dave’s skilled hands. This time last year I honestly didn’t think I would still be performing in the band with Dave – let alone with him playing my dad’s Gibson – but my husband and Pop of Ages’ band manager has been cancer free for a year now and the future’s so bright we’ve gotta wear shades.

written by Kirstie
Keys, Vocals & M.D.for Pop of Ages