Hiya! I'm Wesley, I run, play keys and sing in The Rascals - a four piece band.
We play mostly in our "home area" of Cheshire as a wedding band or Manchester as a function band or sometimes even as a wedding band in Manchester and a function band in Cheshire - you get the idea!
Going forward in this series of, for want of a better word, "articles" you might want to know what makes me qualified to have any of the opinions or advice that I do. Here's a little bit about me...
My first "proper" booking was at the age of 13 as a solo pianist/singer through an agent at a working men's club for three nights: Chrismas Eve, Boxing Night and New Years Eve. It was long time ago now, but I must have done a good job- I could have been replaced after the first night but I got the dance floor going for all three nights and I that was my first taste of the entertainment industry.
For the rest of my teens, the number bookings in my dairy steadily grew until shortly after sixth form I joined an established, professional band replacing their keys player. The change from performing a couple of weekends a month in a pub to every single night in a ball room was huge, but I loved it.
The years I was in the resident band on cruise ships, overnight ferries, hotels and holiday parks are among my fondest memories and put into practice literally the hours of practice and grades I'd studied. Working 7 nights a week teaches so much more than any academic course could.
After a few years, I left the band, settled down and have four wonderful children and I'm very proud of each of them. I slowed my performing down but never stopped and and concentrated on teaching Organ, Piano, Keyboards, Theory GCSE Music and A-Level Music.
Nowadays, I still occasionally perform as a soloist, which great and I enjoy it, but my main focus is The Rascals Party Band. Performing and working with friends is possibly the best way I can think of to earn a living.
Unusually, The Rascals, oddly enough was born from the ashes of a Pink Floyd tribute- a band I was asked to join providing the keyboard parts. I didn't know more than 2/3 Floyd songs at the beginning but as always I enjoyed the challenge new material provided. In the back of my mind at every rehearsal I had my doubts. Whilst the songs were interesting, for me they lacked any real vitality. My background was high energy, dance floor filling pop music with a wide appeal, this seemed very niche.
As do many bands, the Floyd tribute band came to an average and unremarkable end, but friendships had been forged and 75% of that band became Rascals.
The Rascals have, and will, continue to evolve but spirit has endured. The band was created with wedding, parties and corporate functions in mind - and had one simple a simple idea - to make people dance!