It’s good to talk and it’s good to get to know people better. This can be super hard when it’s a bunch of musicians you don’t know and that you want to hire, so to “break the ice” here are 16 things you didn’t know about us.
1. Empire started life as a band called “Calm Yer Jets”
Yes it’s true, Calm Yer Jets is an awesome name. If you’re not from Scotland, the translation is “calm down” or “take it easy”. Why did we give ourselves this name, well we thought it was a bit of a giggle. Isn’t that how most band names are made up. Other contenders at the time were “The Nearly Stories” and some other equally awesome suggestions that I can’t quite remember, hey it was a long time ago, I still think it was a good choice.
2. In the early days, before renaming to Empire, we were a strictly rock and indie covers band only
We covered all the classics from AC/DC, to Foo Fighters, Radiohead and some super cheesy stuff like the final countdown. The variety wasn’t enough for us so we decided to expand our setlist to include a wide range of genre. At this time, the band changed into Empire, the awesome band you see before you today..!!
3. Over the years we’ve covered 500 songs for clients
Disclaimer, this is an estimate, it’s not exactly 500 songs but almost certainly more. Our current setlist has a couple of hundred at least on there right now. We’ve been asked to play a lot of great songs over the years and also had a few more challenging requests eg we were once asked to play a first dance that is usually performed by a popular African drumming band consisting of, well, drums. Over 20 of them to be a bit more precise. Quite a tricky one to pull off for a five piece wedding, function and ceilidh band.
4. Gilbert is the only remaining member of the original band
We pride ourselves on our professionalism and that includes making sure we don’t have a revolving door of band members. It took a couple of years in the beginning for things to settle down and for us to find the right band members for the long haul. Happily, we’re a very stable band, no drama, just a bunch of awesome people playing awesome shows together.
5.Bob is the second longest serving member of the band
Bob is our second and longest serving guitarist, not bad considering how long we’ve been going as a band. Here’s to you Bob, a little older than when you started but also a little bolder and those solos………… WOW keep em coming fella..!! Here’s a photo of a younger Bob at a corporate gig we played in the trossachs.
6. At EVERY gig, someone always asks our bassist Gian a weird and uncomfortable question
This is a strange one, but at EVERY single gig we play Gain always finds himself in a strange conversation with someone. The usual subjects are musical taste and his hair. Who knows, you might be that person at our next show..!! It’s best to ask Gian about this directly, it’s what he’d want.
7. On a trip to South Africa, Heather got stung by a jellyfish 36 times
Currently, I have no information on this event other that it happened and must have been bloody painful.
More news to follow on this as it comes in, hopefully.
8. Bob can’t pass a McDonalds after a gig without asking them “how much to buy all your chicken nuggets”
Arriving at a show for 7pm, finishing playing at midnight and then driving home is hungry work. To ensure Bob can continue to function properly, we regularly have to take a trip to McDonalds post show for an emergency munch. I’ve literally never see ANYONE eat as many nuggets as Bob.
9. Jamie once forgot his bass pedal at a gig and had to kick his drum all night
The result was some severe leg cramps and oh how we laughed, except Jamie, he was in pain, quite a lot of pain actually. We rocked up to the show at 7pm, unloaded the van and during setup Jamie asked “has anyone seen my kick pedal”. After a brief search Jamie had the vision that his kick pedal was still sitting on his living room carpet, though he had a spare kick head with him. Out with the gaffa tape and strap it to his foot. The show went extremely well and Jamie didn’t need to do any weights on one leg at the gym for about 3 weeks.
10. Jamie also plays in Shotts world champion pipe band
I don’t know a lot about pipe bands except that Jamie is in one, and they are good, I mean really good, world champion winning good.
11. We once got a shout out from Rage Against The Machine for covering one of their songs
Asked to play Rage Against The Machines “killing in the name of” for a wedding at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, the fully awesome and mostly American crowd went totally ballistic at the opening riff and continued to rock the hell out for the duration of the song. Here’s a wee clip from the wedding in question.
12. Gilbert once played a gig with a broken index finger after a snowboarding accident
I’ve had many snowboarding accidents but this one was a whopper, just days before a gig. What’s that saying again, oh aye “the show must go on”, and it did. I played a 3 hour gig with a broken joint on my index finger. The picture below was taken a few days after the gig when the hospital had figured out which finger I needed surgery on. So happy they eventually put humpty dumpty back together again.
13. Bob once went through a long hair phase
We never talk about it though, we’re not allowed to. Nothing more can or should be said, here’s the evidence of that glorious happy joy joy time, etched into the internet forever.
14. Gilbert keeps Heathers audition tape on file in-case he ever needs to blackmail her
For legal reasons, I can’t say any more about this in-case i get in trouble. Of course i’m only joking, we like Heather and the audition tape is really really good (PM me if you want to see it, she’ll most likely kill me when she reads this).
15.Heather carries a vocal steamer to every gig, and every venue asks if it’s a bong
You can see why though, it does look a little strange. It’s important to keep the vocal chords well maintained though, here’s a little info on the benefits of vocal steaming, not just for singers.
16. Neither Bob or Jamie can stay awake on the drive home after a show for longer than 38 seconds
Need the proof? Here are the guys helping me stay awake during a long early morning drive home, thanks guys, some awesome teamwork on display right there..!!
And that’s that folks, whether you wanted to or not you now know 16 things you didn’t know about us. If you want to know more or even better get a quote for these glorious people to play at your show, don’t hesitate to get in touch.