Friday, 15 January 2010

Guy Ritchie's House band sign to his new label

Tuesday saw the first official showcase of Guy Ritchie’s house band, The Punch Bowl Band, who have signed to Ritchie’s new label.

The Irish folk group played to a group of music professionals, executives and friends (including me) upstairs at Ritchie’s pub the Punch Bowl in Mayfair. Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics put in a brief appearance, but disappeared before the music actually started. Free food was laid out for the guests and the Guinness flowed freely, mostly put away by the band themselves.

The Punch Bowl Band have shot to fame after Ritchie set up Punchbowl records, a subsidiary Universal, solely to sign his house musicians. They now have their debut album Journey out on 1 March and a full UK pub tour being put together. It’s quite a turnaround for a house band that play together more out of accident than design.

Fiddle player Steve Mulhern says, “It only started because my friend asked me to cover a gig at the Punchbowl. I got some friends together and we played the night. At the end Guy [Ritchie] came up and said ‘Who are you and why aren’t you here every week? Are you free next Tuesday?’”

Since then the band have jammed with Justin Timberlake (who accordion player Daniel Gott said was the “quickest learner on a barrel drum I’ve ever known”) as well as Robert Downey Junior. More importantly Paris Hilton likes them. Horn and pipe player Brendan McAuley also worked on the soundtrack to Ritchie’s new film Sherlock Holmes with legendary film score composer Hans Zimmer. Such a history points to a bright future, but it is their more down to earth appeal that made Ritchie want to launch their career:

“It's exciting to venture into the world of the music industry. It's a tough place, but I've witnessed this band connect with people first hand. They have every chance of being embraced by a wider audience.”

The pub has had several battles with local residents who complain regularly about the pub noise levels. With the band going on tour, hopefully now they might get some peace.

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