Back in 2005, we were a rock band without a lead singer. No viable future beckoned. But a couple of us were doing this Bandaoke thing – pimped-up karaoke with a couple of guitarists playing along to backing tracks. A music agency (Live Music Management) had started us off doing Walkabout bars. Frustratingly for us, they failed to see the potential of doing this rock karaoke thing on a bigger scale (i.e. with drums and for a decent fee) and the work was drying up.
So, we put our own website together – www.karaokeband.com and started promoting the concept of rock band karaoke where you get to sing onstage with a live band. Real drums and everything! We got a few enquiries but no work. LMM got us 1 or 2 gigs during this time but prospects were not good.
What happened next was mental!
One saturday morning in may 2006, I got a call from Manumission’s Andy McKay who wanted us to play Ibiza Rocks! The fee wouldn’t be great (cos the cost of getting us out to Ibiza was enormous) but the opportunity to launch our rock band karaoke concept was too good to miss. I suggested to Andy that he should call the nights “Ibiza Rockaoke”. He liked it so much he bought the .com and .co.uk domains. I did likewise with www.rockaoke.com (www.rockaoke.com was taken but we now have that too) and ROCKAOKE was created there and then.
We invented ROCKAOKE – don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise 😉
Our first night at Bar M, San Antonio wasn’t great. Lots of teething problems and lots of pressure. I realised this was a defining moment in my life and didn’t want to fuck it up. We got through it. The second night became a nightmare. Our guitarist refused to come. A good mate of mine Paul Faud (aka Jinx) came to the rescue. For such a scratch band we did amazingly well to get through the gig and to be asked back again. But jesus was it tough! Paul’s van broke down on the way to the airport, both guitar and bass never got out of Stansted (we had to hire instruments over there) and we missed the flight home – replacement flights cost us all the money we ever made from Ibiza Rocks!
But we did get asked back. And our third Ibiza Rockaoke night was ace! The Bar M stage was set-up for Ibiza Rocks which had kicked off the previous week. It was amazing. WE ARE SCIENTISTS, who had played Bar M 2 days before, were in with Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson who had done a DJ set that night. All of them joined us on stage. ROCKAOKE made national headlines and folks still come up to us and say “I was there that night at Ibiza Rocks!”
It’s not often you get an opportunity to change your life. And when the opportunity presents itself, you have to recognise it and grasp it with both hands. Do what you have to do to the best of your ability. And try to enjoy it. Especially if what you have to do involves flying to Ibiza, drinking lots and playing in a rock band.
We did that – and IBIZA ROCKS became a massive turning point for us!