In search of our first participant for The Baker's Dozen, the good ship Red Guitar set sail from Plymouth on a bright clear day with hope in our hearts and a song on our lips. Before long we encountered a small boat, more like a raft really, that contained two amicable gentlemen Mr David Berkeley of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Mr Ben Parker of London, England. The duo seemed immensely glad to see us, and in exchange for some light provisions, willingly discussed their many adventures on The Son of Town Hall.
1. What is your earliest musical memory?
Can't speak to the earliest. Most significant, though. Sure, there was music always around growing up. Minstrel troupes, brass choirs and the like. They no doubt had an impact. But we both recall a man at the piano in the corner of the Old Star Pub the night we met. We were fighting over a girl. Not the last time that would happen, just the first time. Hard not to credit that man and his playing at least to a certain degree for our musical union.
2. Do you remember the name of your first band?
We’ve sailed other vessels but none so trustworthy as the Son of Town Hall. That’s the one that really sticks out.
3. Which current artist do you hear and just go Wow?
There’s a girl who sings in the saloon in Cerrillos, New Mexico. Can't recall her name, but she has a voice like a yellow-tailed black cockatoo. You'd know her if you heard her. Really something. The sound of her laments can usher you from your bar stool straight up through the gates of heaven in less than a verse and a refrain. What an angel.
4. Do you sit down to write songs or do you wait until your mojo comes to get you?
We travel by raft and write all our songs out there on the ocean. Sometimes the thirst can stop you from singing so you work on instrumentals.
5. Big venue or small venue - what's your favourite to play?
Anything on dry land is good. It’s harder to dance out on the ocean.
6. Who is the one artist you wish you could share a stage with (past or present)?
If that sweet girl from Cerrillos could let us know when she’ll be singing next we’d be more than happy to join her.
7. Bowie, Prince, Sinatra, Elvis which departed great means the most to you?
Are these Aztec Gods?? Certainly we have many who have left us, some far too early, some not early enough. As for the greats, well, Calico Jack and Charles Vane were fine seamen who lost their lives to the waves and the whales respectively. Not a day goes by when we don’t drink to their bravery and humour.
8. Is a saxophone solo ever ok?
Is that one of those church instruments?
9. Should music be free?
Music floats in the air from mouth to ear. Of course, coins could help that journey.
10. Can you remember the first record you bought and what have you bought recently?
I think you might mean those new-fangled spinning discs of black magic? Never bought one. We had one made once by a man with a magical floating recording device. Certainly cuts down on our work hours and sore thumbs. Quite a labor saving invention recordings are.
11. What was the last song that made you cry actual tears?
There was a hymn we used to sing in church which we called the ‘onion.’ Had you on the floor in puddles after a mere stanza. Can never remember its real title.
12. Do you binge watch Netflix / Amazon / DVD box sets (any recommendations)? Do you have a guilty pleasure in Film or TV you’ll admit to watching and loving?
We never made it to the Amazon, nor those other jungles. But we have heard it can be warm and damp there, so we imagine they'd be pretty good for the voice. We will admit to watching and loving those days where the sea is as flat as a pricked bladder, and bluer than a robin's egg.
13. What is the most important thing to you that you can see from where you are right now?
DRY LAND!! :-D
Many thanks to David and Ben for taking the time to complete The Baker's Dozen. The good ship Son of Town Hall has completed passage across stormy seas and can now be found in Europe for a short stay before they embark on the treacherous voyage back to the USA.