Some 40 plus years back, at the old BRMB, when I was the rock DJ, I booked a session with UB40. It was a custom advance mix of six of the tracks that later saw the light of day on UB40's first album, Signing Off. It was by far the most successful session I'd ever set up. It was the only session that generated calls from listeners before I'd even played a track. Coming up to now... in 2019, UB40 Sax man and chief Brummie about town, Brian Travers has had to step back from the band for health reasons. These are covered in the podcast. It's not pretty. However, Brian did reappear on stage with the band at the end of 2019 at their hometown concert. It was a very emotional moment. But during his period of enforced convalescence, he's thrown himself headfirst into a fresh set of activities. Brian Travers Arts was already established as a second activity. with painting, sculpture and glasswork. At one of his first shows (with Havill and Travis), his glass dildo with Clarice Cliff-inspired embellishments was a standout. I just wish I hadn't been holding it when Brian snapped me...
But there;'s a lot more. Brian's devoted a ridiculous amount of energy to raise funds for the doctors, medical staff and the medical facilities which pulled him though. The next step might be his own foundation. When something as drastic as Brian's condition steps up and slaps you across the face, you realise, possibly for the first time, that there's a limited time left for you to do things. Brian has taken this as a personal cue to work on a massive range of projects, while awaiting clearance to get back with the band. You'll hear about some of this. But you'll also hear a stream of stories. And Brian is nothing if not a master story-teller. It was a joy to sit down with him and swap anecdotes, talk music... and life.
Links UB40 Signing Off (Spotify) King Saxophones Brian Travers Arts
The Lives in Music series celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have spent their lives working in the background for the love of it. But they all have stories.
The intro and outro music in this series comes from the great bass player Mike Hatton, who you can hear interviewed in series 1, here. 'Everything Changes' is included in his excellent 2019 album 'Bassic Salvation'.
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