New Burnley band Linus aiming to make 2011 a year they’ll never forget!

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LIFE in a newly formed band can offer up more highs and lows than a TV weatherman.

The exhilaration stemming from that first gig or the excitement of a first EP can often be put into perspective with the swiftly discovered realisation that “making it” is not a walk in a park filled with contract spouting trees and record company lined pathways.

Linus are under no illusion of the difficulties that may lie ahead but are more than ready to put in the miles while most importantly, in their eyes, staying true to their musical beliefs.

Bringing together John French Bray (vocals/guitar), Edward Keller (bass/vocals), Mark Smith (drums) and Ian ‘Marvin’ Ashworth (harmonica/guitar/mandolin), the band started out under one year ago.

“I founded the band with the drummer back in February,” said John. “Basically we just started jamming together and then one day he stuck a microphone in front of me and we took it from there. I already had bunch of songs I had written and the melodies were there.

“Ian got hold of me through a band advertisement and said ‘I know you’re not after a harmonica player but can I come along and see what you think’. Three is better than two so we said ‘yes’.”

The three-piece struggled to find a bassist before a few months in a Chorley-residing American answered their call.

“I got a message from Ed saying he was singer and songwriter as well so I was a bit worried in case he came in and was better than me,” joked John. “We didn’t even know he was American until he turned up but everything went well and we had the band.”

Just a few days before Ed joined, the three others took to the stage for their first live gig and it was one John, courtesy of a stray golf swing, will never forget.

“We actually played our first gig at a charity do in Hindley Green. We were setting up at 2 p.m. even though the gig didn’t start until 8 p.m. To take up a bit of time we decided to go to a driving range nearby, even though I’d never played golf.

“I was swinging and missing so I asked Mark if a could stand behind him and watch how it was done. The next thing I know I’m on the floor with the left hand side of my face in absolute agony. He’d taken a full swing and hit me. I went to the bathroom and it was a real mess. I couldn’t believe it, it was our first gig and I looked like the Elephant Man. We did the gig though, got through it and then I went to the hospital where I found out I’d fractured my cheekbone.”

Accidental beatings to the face aside, Linus’ first tentative steps into the music world have gone well and the band are now ready to make their mark on 2011, doing it their way.

“We haven’t touched a cover version yet. We would just rather spend our time together creating original music. We want to focus on getting out there and being heard. We were in Central Recording Studio in Burnley a couple of weeks ago to record an EP and that went very well.

“Everyone brings something different to the band. We’re always getting asked what type of band we class ourselves as but it’s difficult. My influences are The Beatles, New Order and any Manchester bands really. Ian brings a lot of soul while Ed just has a general knowledge of all music so I like to look at it as a melting pot of ideas really.

“We tend to play a lot of gigs over Manchester way but we want to try and get more noticed around here. We are going to carry on gigging this year, hopefully get on a label and see where it goes from there.”

Linus are due to play on 2BR’s Band Night on Thursday, April 28th.

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