2010 and Plans for 2011

Hi everyone, and a slightly belated Happy New Year to you all!

Thought I’d quickly have a run through the happenings of 2010 and also let you know about a couple of fun things that I’ve got lined up for 2011.

So, 2010…

The first big thing was the release of Panic Room‘s second album “Satellite” ( ok, the special edition was out in 2009, but the official release was 2010). As well as playing on the album, I also co-wrote two tracks – “Black Noise” and “The Great Divide” (on the bonus “Little Satellite” disc with the Special Edition) and wrote my first ever commercially released lyrics on “..Divide” (I wrote the chorus and most of the verses, Anne wrote the middle eight and made a few changes elsewhere).
I’m not always a big fan of listening to myself, but am really proud of the bass playing on his album. I got to play fretted and fretless basses ( the latter on “Sunshine” and “Satellite”), debut my electric upright ( “I Am A Cat” and “The Fall”), make cat noises with my electric upright, a bow and an autowah ( the intro to “..Cat” oddly enough), overplay with loads of distortion pretending to be Geezer Butler ( “Dark Star”) and it even features two bass solos – the outro to “The Great Divide” and the fretless space-solo in “Satellite”.

The album has been really well received, and lead to some fantastic gigs including supporting Hawkwind at St Davids Hall, Cardiff and supporting Wishbone Ash and Mostly Autumn at Shepherds Bush Empire.

However although Panic Room was the most high profile part of my musical life ( and quite possibly what led you to be reading this right now), I continued to do all my freelance gigs, and work a full time day job, and ran out of time to do everything. So, in July, I parted company with the band. Their new bassist Yatim Halimi is a great player and lovely person so I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Gig wise, I had all sorts of fun last year – I did a couple of Spring dates with New York singer Marlene Verplanck, played some great festival dates in Swansea, Brecon and Pontypool Jazz Festivals with various artists, and even got to do some solo bass gigs ( which I love but terrify me!). I was also rhythm section tutor on the Steve Waterman Big Band ( more about that in a minute).

As far as recording went, I did a few sessions and released a total of 4 solo albums via Bandcamp – two albums worth of short improvisations ( “Notebook 1” and “…2”), an unedited live recording from a Ustream webcast ( “The Cafe Noodle Bootleg”) and “The Kindness Of Strangers”, a combination of live and studio recordings released to raise money for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

I also did a “Christmas single”, also available on Bandcamp:

Not only was it enormous fun to record all these, self releasing them meant I was also responsible for the artwork, liner notes, etc which I really enjoyed ( I’m quite a control freak really!)

Throughout 2010, I also got involved in doing remixes for people which has really helped my studio and programming abilities:

Remixes by AlunVaughan

So, quite a busy year musically all in all – I think I counted 112 gigs in total. But it was also a very busy year in dayjob land and in November I was amazed to win Teamleader Of The Year 2010 in the Welsh Contact Centre Association Awards 🙂

Amongst all this hectic working, I also found time to relax a bit and actually take some time out. I got to spend some time touristing around Liverpool and London as well as getting the chance to see some of my favourite musicians play – Jeff Beck, Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Laurence Cottle, John Paul Jones, Stuart Clayton, Michael Manring, Victor Bailey and I’m sure many others that escape me right now.

So, 2010 turned out pretty well!! Now, what shall I do in 2011…..

The first thing to mention is that the 8 track “standard” version of “Kindness of Strangers” is now on iTunes, emusic, CDBaby and should hopefully be on a few more online stores (eg Amazon and Myspace Music) soon. The 9 track version with liner notes will remain on Bandcamp. Why? Well, two reasons – firstly, the other sites don’t allow liner notes to be included, and secondly, all profits from the album go to the MS Society so I’d rather tempt people towards Bandcamp where a higher percentage of the sale revenue finds its way back to the artist.

I have had some fantastic feedback about the album which you can read here.

Speaking of albums, I will again be taking part in the RPM Challenge, where you have to record an album during February. This will be my third year – last year led to the Notebook albums, and the previous year I recorded a more diverse composed album “What I Did On My Holiday” which I would love to get onto Bandcamp but cannot find the original files (Bandcamp needs high quality files, not just MP3s). If this year’s album gets onto Bandcamp, I may see if I can bundle a zip file of the “..Holiday” MP3s in with it as I’m quite proud of it.

This year, I plan to rummage through my “ideas” folders and complete some of the music left over from the 2009 and 2010 RPM Challenges, as well as some ideas I originally intended for Panic Room and “Kindness…”, some ideas I’ve written recently and anything else that comes to mind between now and when I master the last song! This may all change, but that’s the plan for now.

In April, I will again be taking up the role of rhythm section tutor alongside saxophonist Alan Barnes and trumpeter Steve Waterman on their Contemporary Big Band Course in Llanelli, South Wales. It’s a great weekend’s playing and tuition and you can find full details here.

Keep an eye on my website, www.alunvaughan.com, for further news and, if you’re into Twitter, you can follow me there too – @alunvaughan.

Have a great 2011 everyone and hope to see you at a gig soon!
Take care,


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