DCSIMG

The sound of the British fighting spirit signed up to a top record label

What do two servicemen born in Calderdale have in common with rapper Eminem and singer Amy Winehouse? Pauline Hawkins finds out...

MILITARY men only seem to blow their own trumpets when they are part of a regimental band.

And two members of Her Majesty's forces with plenty of noise to make are Gareth Craik and John Storey who are carrying on the 224-year tradition of the Band of the Coldstream Guards.

The country's oldest military band is about to release a new album, Heroes, which will feature Gareth, 29, and 33-year-old John among the 30-plus musicians.

It will be released by Universal Music on Decca Records, which also counts Eminem, Amy Winehouse, US pop singer Lady Gaga and British synthpop duo La Roux among its artists.

Best known for performing the theme tune to long-running BBC TV comedy Dad's Army, the band plays regularly for ceremonial occasions and events such as the Changing of the Guard, the Festival of Remembrance and the Trooping of the Colour.

John, whose parents Ian and Christine still live in Hebden Bridge, used to be a member of the Hebden Bridge Junior Band, where he honed his musical talents.

He later went to Huddersfield University to study music and joined the Army on leaving university 12 years ago.

John, who now lives in London where the band is based, says: "One of the reasons why a lot of people join the Army is to travel.

"We did a three-month tour of the US in January last year and I have been to Japan, Switzerland and Italy with the band."

Married John plays euphonium and trombone while Gareth, who was born in Halifax, plays bass trombone.

Gareth's family left the town when he was two years old, but he met fellow Tyke John after joining the Army five years ago while he was living in Peterborough.

Gareth, who started playing musical instruments when he was seven, says: "Both my grandfathers served in World War Two – one was a driver, mostly based in Europe, and the other served in North Africa. He spent most of the war in prisoner-of-war camps in Austria and Germany.

"I had a nine-to-five desk job for five or six years but fancied a total change of career and, being a musician, there were a few different options open.

"Part of me wanted to support the forces and the best way of me doing that was serving as a musician in one of the bands.

"The majority of our work is the state ceremonial side of things but, being soldiers, we keep up to date with all aspects of training – there is always the chance that we could be deployed either as a unit or as an individual."

The regiment originated in Cold-stream, Scotland, in 1650, when it was founded by General George Monck.

The band supports events in a number of formats from small ensembles to a full marching band and Monck lends his name to a rock band in which several of the guardsmen play.

Dickon Stainer, managing director of Decca Records, says: "Decca is proud to be releasing music from such an iconic regiment as the Coldstream Guards.

"Their inspiring music epitomises the British fighting spirit throughout history and it still resonates today."

The band was signed to Universal in June during the Changing of the Guard.

The album is being managed by Daniel Glatman, who masterminded boy-band Blue's rise to stardom.

Sir Michael Rose, Colonel of the Regiment of the Coldstream Guards, says: "It is marvellous that the Coldstream Guards' music is now being made available to the great British public on such a major scale."

Heroes will be available to buy from November 30. Tracks on the album include The Great Escape, 633 Squadron, I Vow To Thee My Country, Land of Hope and Glory and The Dam Busters.

The album is being managed by Daniel Glatman, who masterminded boy-band Blue’s rise to stardom.

Sir Michael Rose, Colonel of the Regiment of the Coldstream Guards, says: “It is marvellous that the Coldstream Guards’ music is now being made available to the great British public on such a major scale.”

l Heroes will be available to buy from November 30. Tracks on the album include The Great Escape, 633 Squadron, I Vow To Thee My Country, Land of Hope and Glory and The Dam Busters.

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page