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17 Feb 2012 :: Back at Jubilee
By my count, this coming Saturday will be the 11th time we've played at Jubilee Cafe in Taksim over the years. Since the first show we did there was way back in June, 2006 you can hardly count it as a residency (!) but it's still nice to be going back to a familiar spot. If you haven't been in to Jubilee in the last couple of years, they've done a few renovations and it's looking good. Maybe see you there...
28 Sept 2011 :: In the news (again)
graphic
This time we were in Adana. In response to the question "Why are you doing this?" Katie answered "One reason is so that women who are suffering silently in their homes can know that they are not alone. By raising awareness and talking about this, women will hopefully feel a little less isolated. And we also want to let them know that God knows and cares about them". Hopefully our show carries hope for people, both women and the men who need help handling their anger. Here's the article.
22 Sept 2011 :: Dustin Dusting
Looking for dirt
Looking for dirt
All of the shopping centres we've played at have been pretty titiz (er, read 'fastidious') about cleanliness and order. But Dustin was able to check out some of the spots in the ceiling where cleaners aren't able to reach on his ten footer unicycle. Lots of fun.
21 Sept 2011 :: More dance
On-stage at the DSI park, Antakya
On-stage at the DSI park, Antakya
Personally, I had never been a great fan of dance. I could understand how some folks might be into it, and have sort of enjoyed doing it (despite having pretty limited ability...) but over the last couple of years, I have seen (but more importantly, 'felt') the power of dance to move people, draw a crowd and communicate something that music alone cannot. This piece is being done just after we've talked more about violence against women and the music and the moves work perfectly together.
20 Sept 2011 :: In the news
We had some reporters at our show in Bursa. Check out what they said here.
18 Sept 2011 :: Questions, questions, questions...
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We've posted a couple of questions about stuff we're talking about in this tour on our Facebook page, under "Discussion". If you have a view about violence towards women, or how a father can forgive wayward children, add your voice here.
18 Sept 2011 :: Three Shows Done
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We're on the road again and heading out to Ankara later on today after having done a 'warm-up' show in Istanbul, and two shows with a full sound system in Bursa at the Kent AVM. We always like coming here; Bursa folks are pretty friendly, and the venue is great - well over 500 folks are able to site comfortably and enjoy each show. Thanks for coming out last night!
7 Sept 2011 :: Jango Waves
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For what it's worth, we've been doing some promotion on Jango before the next tour to get the word out about our music and let people know where we'll be. Well, it seems like some folks quite liked the tracks we have playing (for free) up there and we ranked #4! So, that was a nice result - if you were one of the folks that voted, thanks a bunch! Although, it seems that a couple of our songs are most popular with Lady Gaga fans. Now that really doesn't make sense... Check it out at jango
5 Sept 2011 :: Turkey Tour Sept 2011
Right now, we're planning the dates for another tour with Dustin Kelm and the Unishow. We'll be in Turkey again, doing some more acoustic music incorporating a few different instruments and some live looping. Should be fun... For tour dates check out this page.
6 July 2011 :: Glory for the Sound Guy
View from the bridge
View from the bridge
This is where it all happens. Note the absense of a large "suck" button.
4 July 2011 :: Grim Reminders
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Development seems to be progressing at pace in Kosovo, but you generally don't have to go too far to be reminded of events from ten years ago. The buildings and signs tell one story, but of course, it is the stories of the people that are the most telling. It's hard to really understand how all this stuff happened, although history tells us that it was harldy the first time the Balkans had seen such things. And this stuff doesn't just happen in the Balkans either...
1 July 2011 :: Dancing Queen (and King)
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It was great having some more dancers in the tour; this is the last little piece of some cool moves they did for that old-time classic "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees.
1 July 2011 :: First Kosovo Show
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The first show of the tour is always an interesting one when you try and work out how much of the rehearsal stuff will work - or just plain stick in everyone's head. Having been able to do a back-to-back with all the dance and drama stuff in advance meant that this show was largely devoid of train wrecks. Not that that happens very often anyway!
10 May 2011 :: Kosovo Tour
The newest country in the world
The newest country in the world
It's been on the cards for a while, but we're finally announcing here a tour in Kosovo from June 21 - July 7. Some of us were in Kosovo last year on another tour, and it seemed like a really great place to do a StoryBox tour. The tour will be featuring quite a bit more drama and dance than our usual shows and we're looking forward to seeing it all come together.
17 Nov 2010 :: (Almost ) Free Download
We thought we might post some of the live acoustic recordings from recent tours on Reverbnation for those folks that were at the show - or who just like free MP3's! Well, it's not quite free - we'd like your email address in return. Just click here
5 Nov 2010 :: Istanbul Unplugged Show
We'll be taking a break for a few months (while one of us is overseas having a baby), so we thought it would be nice to do a final show in Istanbul to mark the end of the year. Jubilee cafe's a little place, so it'll be more of an acoustic performance, with time in between sets for folks to talk to their friends - and us too if you want; we always like gettng to know people at the shows we do.
16 September 2010 :: Back to Acoustics
Clue: This is NOT a violin...
Clue: This is NOT a violin...
In the absence of the drummer for our upcomıng tour to Bulgaria, we've returned somewhat to our more acoustic roots. It has it's advantages - rehearsals are quiet, can be done anywhere and don't require oodles of set-up time with heavy (and temperamental) equipment. And, did we say that it's sounding pretty good?
10 July 2010 :: Ladies Only
Digging those groovy hats
Digging those groovy hats
One of our last shows was in a ladies prison in Shymkent. The heat was brutal - although the ladies got to sit in the shade. Obviously, something of a captive audience, but most stayed throughout the show
9 July 2010 :: House building in Kazakhstan
How they used to do it
How they used to do it
We saw quite a bit of this across the country. Apparently there isn't much insulation value in straw/brick houses - and so considering the amazing temperature extremes between summer and winter, these houses probably aren't the most comfortable to live in. But if there's one thing Kazakhstan is not short of, it's earth so I guess that's why they do it this way.
9 July 2010 :: Three Drummers
What every band truly needs
What every band truly needs
Not one, not two, but yes, for one song - three drummers! Actually, it was quite a good crowd pleaser and gave the rest of us a break while these guys sweated it out.
8 July 2010 :: No To Narkotika!
The amazing destructible cigarette
The amazing destructible cigarette
We team up with a group that runs alcohol and drug rehab centres when we go to Kazakhstan. Part of the show always features one the leaders talking about how he beat his old addiction with help from above - and then they pull out this massive cigarette which he snaps over his knee. Kind of corny, but kind of cool too.
6 July 2010 :: Grooving at the Clinic
Someone was getting into it
Someone was getting into it
Somehow we wound up playing at a tuberculosis clinic - although rain threatened to shut us down twice before finally letting us get through the set. This lady certainly didn't seem to be too sick judging by her exuberant dance moves. Actually, I think the people that came to see us were pretty healthy although I expect there is a wing in the hospital where it's not wise to go visiting.
5 July 2010 :: Anthem Girls
Not real keen to sing.
Not real keen to sing.
We tried to play the Kazakh national anthem in lots of the places we played - except for the prisons where we didn't think it would go down quite so well. It was a bit tricky trying to get folks to sing it, and it didn't help that we proably didn't play it at the right speed most of the time! Still, I think these little girls found it exciting to be up the front for a few moments at least.
3 July 2010 :: Technical Issues
Sorry for the wait, but for reasons outside our control...
Sorry for the wait, but for reasons outside our control...
These poor folks had to wait around quite a while for the show to start. We eventually eliminated an awful ground hum by attaching a mic cable to an earthing rod. Still, the show went well in the end, and I think was worth the wait in the hot sun close to the Uzbek border in Atakent.
3 July 2010 :: Great crowd, awful weather
Show #3 to a receptive crowd
Show #3 to a receptive crowd
After dealing with various technical hitches for the first couple of shows, a couple of the band members braved some seriously hot afternoon sun to iron out the bugs. In the end, their efforts paid off - although having a grounded power supply that was close to 220V also had some impact! The turnout for this show was great, and even the mayor seemed to enjoy it. He certainly seemed to want some kudos from the crowd after we'd finished.
29 June 2010 :: Back in K-Stan
Beautiful scenery
Beautiful scenery
Less than a year later, and we're back in Kazakhstan. This time, based more in the country in the little town of Pervomayevka (or Birincimamur as I think they say in Kazakh). Being 45 minutes away from the relatively gib-smoke of Shymkent is a far cry from the real big smoke of Istanbul. But, it's good to be back.
25 June 2010 :: Website now in Russian
Luckily we don't have to use these any more...
Luckily we don't have to use these any more...
In preparation for the upcoming tour to Kazakhstan, we've taken a bit of time to get the web-site understandable for all the Russian speakers we'll come across while on tour there next week. Many thanks to Alonya for her time - and of course, great translation skills! It would have been nice to get it translated into Kazakh too, but we don't know too many native Kazakh speakers here in Istanbul. If you can translate it for us, send us a message through our contacts page...
8 June 2010 :: Preparing For Kazakhstan
The Kazakh flag
The Kazakh flag
We're off to Kazakhstan again. Looking forward to it actually. People are really friendly and the organiser are pretty cool too. And they make sure we eat like kings, so that keeps even the drummer happy. Right now we're dealing with trying to make sure we have a decent sound system - which I must confess is often problematic.
26 April 2010 :: TV Cooking Show
We're off to record a TV cooking program today in Beykoz. Hopefully they don't ask us to cook. I think we just have to talk intelligently and play a couple of songs. Hopwefully one of those things we should be able to do OK! We'll let you know the broadcast details when we know them ourselves - and maybe even post a clip or two on our facebook page
24 March 2010 :: Another fun show in a beautiful place
Someone else enjoying the show
Someone else enjoying the show
This chap showed up in front of us and twiddled his whatever-it-was-stick for about 3 songs before getting tired. There was another chap, supposedly 90 years old, who came out to dance. He did seem to be somewhat fortified by a little "Dutch courage". That, plus a boat-load of Iranian tourists made this a slightly different evening right in the middle of this beautiful harbour in Kaleiçi, Antalya.
23 March 2010 :: Always eating
A nice lunch before setting up for a show
A nice lunch before setting up for a show
Mediterranean food is one of the bonuses of living and touring in Turkey. And the folks at Paul's Place in Antalya do as good a job of this as anyone.
22 March 2010 :: Akdeniz University
Pre-show crowd
Pre-show crowd
We weren't sure what to expect from this. Universities aren't usually bustling with students at 8pm on a Monday evening. Unless of course, the student canteen is behind the amphitheatre and there's a pile of student accommodation nearby. This was a fun show to do; we met heaps of nice students before and after the show and hope to come back again.
21 March 2010 :: Great Little Hotel
If you're looking for a great place to stay in Kaleiçi, Antalya, we thoroughly recommend "La Paloma". İhan, Barış and the rest of the team did a great job of looking after us in this beautiful hotel/pansiyon. And they gave us special prices too. We couldn't have been happier with this place. Next time we're in Antalya I sure hope we can stay here again
20 Mar 2010 :: First performance (sort of)
graphic
It wasn't a full show, but we had the chance to play "Kill the Calf" at a big conference full of Canadians in Antalya as a bit of a warm-up for the rest of the tour. It's been a while since some of us have been on a stage that big with such a boatload of fancy sound and lights. Lots of fun! We also sold quite a few CDs - which is always nice.
18 March 2010 :: Rehearsing Again
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Eight hours over two days is not a lot of time to get a full set together, but we made it through OK in the end, albeit all feeling a little tired. Using the crystal clear Sennheiser stereo in-ear monitors made things a lot less painful than you might expect when rehearsing with a 7 piece: 2 keys, 2 guitars, bass, drums + vox.
16 Mar 2010 :: On the Road Again
Snow, rain, brilliant sunshine, police - and lots and lots of trucks.
Snow, rain, brilliant sunshine, police - and lots and lots of trucks.
Today we started the long drive for the March tour. According to Google maps, we have about 2,500 km to cover over the next 10 days or so - not counting running around in towns. We experienced snow, rain, sun and wind in the trip from Istanbul to Konya. Truly Turkey does the 'seasons' very well - even if it's all in just one day!
28 Feb 2010 :: March Tour Booking
It's a bit of a drive
It's a bit of a drive
It's always a lot of phonecalls for our manager, but it's also encouraging for all of us to see the schedule filling up with gigs. Right now, we've got a pretty full schedule of shows in Antalya, Bursa and Eskişehir. Hopefully there aren't any last minute cancellations...
23 Dec 2009 :: RSS Feed: Geeks only!
So, if you know what RSS is, you can add a feed from our news page to your feed reader and keep up with us without even visiting the website! Click on the orange RSS icon in your toolbar, or if it's not showing correctly, the URL is http://storybox.org.uk/newsrss.asp
18 December 2009 :: Finally on iTunes
Not a lot more to say. Check the new album out on iTunes
1 December 2009 :: Available on CD Baby
Looking for a friendly CD player near you…
Looking for a friendly CD player near you…
This is mostly of interest for folks from North America, but we've got the CD up for sale on CD Baby. If you want to pick up a copy (or get a 20% discount for more than one) you can order it here. It's also digitally downloadable too for a slightly cheaper price.
16 Nov 2009 :: Istanbul Calling
This photo is calling out for a catchy  caption.
This photo is calling out for a catchy caption.
Obviously, nothing to do with the tour, but as I was going through tour photos, I thought it was such a great shot that it deserved a showing on the website. Kudos to Matt (once again) for taking it. Love the way it captures something of the old and new of Istanbul down by Karaköy
8 November 2009 :: Art Guitar
Got that 80's soft focus look. All it needs now is a perm
Got that 80's soft focus look. All it needs now is a perm
Our final gig of the tour was in Bursa in the old French Catholic church. Not ideal acoustics for a rock and roll band, but I think it went OK (but what do we know? We use in-ear monitors these days...) This is another of Matt's more arty shots. Pity he had to be on stage playing bass during the shows; he probably would have taken some decent live shots of us playing too.
7 November 2009 :: Solo stuff
Playing some harmonica at Jubilee
Playing some harmonica at Jubilee
After we'd finished doing some Q&A on the album and played a few tunes from it at Jubilee, Alex got up and played a few solo tunes on his guitar with mouth organ. Nice and mellow; Jubilee's always a good spot for this kind of thing.
1 November 2009 :: Real Rock Stars
These guys used to be the guitar techs for Bon Jovi
These guys used to be the guitar techs for Bon Jovi
Some guys are just looking for any excuse to put on makeup, leather jeans and makeup. Shameless.
1 November 2009 :: Pretty Lights @ Life Roof
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As mentioned below, this show wasn't too well attended. Combination of bad weather and not enough promotion. Still, the band had fun as did the few folks that came out to see us having a glorified rehearsal! You get gigs like that I'm afraid…
1 November 2009 :: Not Here Either
Anybody want a house?
Anybody want a house?
So, this is the view from the Istanbul Life Roof. Clearly, a "roof". The shot doesn't really do justice to the terrible weather - which didn't exactly help draw in the crowds either. Still, the stage looked pretty as you saw!
31 October 2009 :: No Shortage Here
Anybody want some stuff?
Anybody want some stuff?
Some of the guys in the band took in a bit of sight seeing on a day off from the tour. If there's one thing Istanbul is not short of, it's people. This is one of the "most taken" tourist shots of this city, but for good reason.
27 October 2009 :: More Rehearsals
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Some new players, some old players rehearsing again for next weeks tour. This is Matt, a pretty tall guy, thoughtfully sitting cross legged so that we can get him in landscape mode as opposed to serious portrait.
24 October 2009 :: Out Now!
A good place to get the CD
A good place to get the CD
Well, after months of waiting for different people to do their thing on this project, we were very pleased to get the call yesterday. "It's ready". So, as of today, you can head into the Greenhouse and pick up a brand new copy for 9TL. If you want a digital download, then we're still a few weeks from being up on iTunes, but in the meantime you can get it from ReverbNation (via Nimbit) and even get a free track if you sign up as a fan… Hope you like it - and if you do, please tell your friends.
12 October 2009 :: More internet promotion…
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In the absense of record companies to do this for you, indie bands are required to do their own self-promotion and in this internet age, a plethora of different websites have sprung up that provide different services to do this. ReverbNation seems as good as any of them, so we signed up. You'll find a bit more info about us (photos, bio etc) here as well as links to buy music. Happy surfing! Check it out here
11 September 2009 :: Evidence of Change
Just one of the changed people we met
Just one of the changed people we met
Much as we enjoy playing music, seeing new places and eating new food (did we already mention that?), most of what makes travelling with StoryBox special is meeting people who have been changed. This is a photo of one of the two helpful guys living in the rehab centre who have left old lives behind, and are now pressing on towards something greater. We met lots of folks like this; people who know what their old lives were like, but now with the help of God and other people, have hope for a new future and are pressing towards it eagerly.
9 September 2009 :: A Bit of Local Culture
No live instruments allowed
No live instruments allowed
As many of our events were during the day, we were invited out one evening to what we had expected was going to be a concert of of Kazak folk music played by local experts in the town hall of Shimkent. Nothing could have been further from the truth - except the location I guess. The place was packed with the family, friends and supporters of 20 or maybe even 30 pop groups, all lip synching to backing tracks. The only things 'live' about the event were the dancers (who were really great) and the family members constantly going on stage to give flowers to each different group (and quite often getting in the way!). Definitely an experience.
8 September 2009 :: They Even Liked the Sound Guy
…but he deserved it.
…but he deserved it.
Meet George, our sound man for this tour. A professional tech in the UK, he found the whole set-up in Kazakhstan somewhat different to his usual gigs. New, quality equipment in this country costs an absolute fortune, so many make do with stuff that is antiquated to say the least. George coped admirably, and even managed to find himself a wife before leaving Kazakshstan - although it wasn’t one of the ladies above (or the cowboy with his bandana either).
7 September 2009 :: One Wheel Again
Don't try this at home
Don't try this at home
The first two weeks of September found us on tour again, this time in Kazakhstan, teaming up with Dustin and Katie Kelm. We filled our two weeks here with plenty of food (more shash-leek anyone?), educational and correctional institutions.
15 June 2009 :: New Album Cover
More progress
More progress
Trying to get everything finished for this record remains something of an endurance race. But, here goes what the cover will more or less look like. On some glossy white paper, should look pretty good.
7 May 2009 :: StoryBox on TV
Smile for the cameras
Smile for the cameras
Well, this was a bit of fun. After the first StoryBox TV appearance with Olay several years ago, this was a definite step up what with the studio audience, multiple cameras and a chef who cooked tasty food during the show. The best part was probably Raymond trying to dance the halay and confusing the presenter.
4 May 2009 :: Sakarya University
A happy audience
A happy audience
We don't always get to play to crowds this big, so it's nice when it happens - and when they enjoy our music. Unfortunately, the sound company had neglected to run power conditioners, and once the voltage hit 260V, then the front of house stopped working. Not really ideal…
28 April 2009 :: Some more mixes…
We got some more mixes today for the new album… We look forward to hearing them once this upcoming tour is over. Hopefully, they'll be up to snuff and we can move on to the next phase: mastering.
28 February 2009 :: Battle of the Drummers
A quick repair job
A quick repair job
For our final concert of the tour, we were the international act at a Battle of the Bands competition. Unfortunately, the band just before us got a little too excited and their drummer kicked so hard that be put a major hole in the middle of the kick drum skin. Tape sort of came to the rescue, but it was hardly ideal. Even though we were nowhere near as hard and heavy as a lot of the bands that played this evening, people still really seemed to enjoy what we did so that was good.
26 February 2009 :: Sighseeing in Sidon
Looking for open doors
Looking for open doors
After we had a university gig cancelled, our local tour organiser's brother in law took us on a sightseeing trip to Sidon in the south. Although there was almost no information about these ancient ruins, they are pretty impressive. This is a picture of a triumphal arch that some "humble" emperor erected to celebrate a recent military victory. The nearby hippodrome was also most impressive; it looks way larger than the one in Istanbul and also the one in Rhodes.
24 February 2009 :: Welcome to Lebanon
The view from where we were staying
The view from where we were staying
This is our second tour to Lebanon, and all of us agree that we like coming here. The country has excellent food of course, and we also find the different Lebanese folks we meet to be really friendly and welcoming. It helps that they mostly speak pretty good English, although I'm sure there are plenty of places here where English is not well known. Perhaps it's because the country has suffered so much in recent years that the people are nice. Or maybe it's just the Lebanese way!
20 January 2009 :: Mixing in NZ
graphic
We spent a day or so with the guys at Vertical getting started on the mix process for the new record. They have some clever folks here, and we're looking forward to hearing them take what we've recorded to the next level of quality. Stay tuned.
29 November 2008 :: IstanBuluş
The ticket
The ticket
A great evening we shared with local Istanbul group, 50th Day. 50th Day started the night with about an hour of more worship based music before StoryBox played a 45 minute of mostly original music (but with a couple of Turkish pop covers of course!). Folks seemed to really enjoy the night and we had heaps of fan sign-ups on Facebook as a result.
10 November 2008 :: Fans welcome…
graphic
We're not real good at self promotion I'm afraid, but we figured it was about time to get into the 21st centuery and get onto some kind of social networking site. Maybe we'll do MySpace one day, but for now, we're using Facebook to manage fans. So, please head across to Facebook, hunt for StoryBox there (we're actually called "StoryBox (Turkey)" on Facebook) and sign up as an official fan. We'll be using it to try and keep in touch with folks for upcoming concerts, and especially, our new CD when it comes out.
13 August 2008 :: Recording Album #2
Handy man Tim in the studio
Handy man Tim in the studio
Starting in August 08, we've been busy recording our new album at WePlay studios in Taksim. This month we hope to get drums, bass and maybe some electrci guitars recorded in the 60 hours we've got booked…
20 July 2008 :: StimpyBox Last Gig
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After quite a tough tour (we suffered a few last minute cancellations among other things), it was good to finish off last night on a high note at the Resimli Bar in Bursa. Quite a decent crowd came out for gig, and even the owner seemed to enjoy what we had to sing and say. Venue owners are usually a bit more hard-nosed in my experience! It was great to meet some folks after the show - we haven't quite got all the names into our new fanclub database, but it's happening slowly… We look forward to coming back to Bursa and doing it again
11 July 2008 :: Studio Live
Small crowd but a good night
Small crowd but a good night
When we first met Şafak at the Jubilee Cafe a couple of years ago, he had big dreams of having us play at big name clubs in Istanbul - like Studio Live. So it was something of a dream come true for him for us to play at Studio Live. In the end, we are still a largely unknown band, and the promotion we did wasn't effective enough to get people to come out and see us. It was a good night, but would have been a lot better if more folks had been there. I hope this is not the last time we play this venue; hopefully next time we'll bring a few more punters.
8 July 2008 :: Good Evening Turgutlu
A big stage on a hot day
A big stage on a hot day
As you can see from the photo, the good people of Turgutlu have quite a large amphitheatre. Regrettably, the local council didn't do quite as much promotional work as we had been led to believe they would do, so we had maybe a total of 300 people (throughout the night) in a 10,000 seater amphitheatre. It felt a bit lame at times to be honest, but what can you do. Andrew, our new last-minute drummer stepped up to the plate and did a great job. Our regular drummer is now a daddy!
5 July 2008 :: A Bit of World Music
It's not something we've done a lot of, but I think I speak for the band when I say that we really enjoyed the chance to play a tune with a dengbej-style singer. The whole song is done with just one chord (over the same makam/scale) so it took a while for us to figure out some things that would keep the tune interesting (to us at least). The power of the song comes through in the voice and words though to be honest. It’s a pity we didn't understand a lick of it!
27 June 2008 :: Rehearsals Start
Tomorrow morning four of us head into rehearsal mode as we get our heads round new material for the StoryBox and Jon Simpson tour. Jon and his family (wife and two kids aged 7 and 10 so that should make the tour a bit of a laugh!) arrived this afternoon after a long, long flight. If Jon falls asleep on his guitar while we're rehearsing it likely won't be because the music is boring. Well, hopefully not.
24 June 2008 :: New Bass Player
A pensive moment
A pensive moment
A couple of days ago Tim, our new bass player for the summer arrived in Turkey. Tim has spent the last few years studying bass and sound engineering at university, so it's great to have him join us for a few months while he works out the next steps in his life. If you see him playing with us in this next tour, make sure to say "Hi" and welcome him to Turkey.
6 June 2008 :: StoryBox & Jon Simpson
It's been hard going trying to book all the gigs for the tour, but at the moment, it's looking like we'll at least be in Istanbul and the Izmir regions during July. More details to come on the concerts page.
18 May 2008 :: The Good People of Daşkesen (Dash-kess-en)
The biggest crowd of the tour (30 minutes before showtime)
The biggest crowd of the tour (30 minutes before showtime)
It was one heck of a drive through some beautiful countryside (pity the roads weren't quite as luxuriant as some of the forests) but we finally made it to the region of Daşkesen, quite close to the Armenian border way up in hills. As you can imagine, not a lot of world famous unicyclists and foreign rock bands make there way to this neck of the woods so quite a few people (like most of the town I'd say!) showed up to see the show in their town centre.
17 May 2008 :: Unicycling
Dustin heading home
Dustin heading home
After a show in a very small village, Dustin decided to get in some extra practice and unicycle (some of the way) back to the hotel. Oddly enough, it's not something these little boys had seen much of in their village before…
14 May 2008 :: Blowin' in the Wind
Craig likely embarrassing some poor kid
Craig likely embarrassing some poor kid
You can't see from the photo but it was blowing a howling gale at this event. And it was the sort of dirty wind that gets junk in every part of your gear and body. On top of that, we were out in the sun for the hottest part of the day, and some folks got pretty red…
12 May 2008 :: Concert for Deaf Kids
Captive (albeit diminutive) audience
Captive (albeit diminutive) audience
Not usually a band's first choice of audience in my experience. It's lucky that we had a unicyclist and illusionist with us today or else the deaf kids at this orphanage would have got pretty bored. Still, tons of other kids showed up later to watch what was going on and they seemed to enjoy it too.
11 May 2008 :: Hello Baku
Downtown Baku
Downtown Baku
Welcome to Azerbaijan. You can't tell from the photo, but Baku is actually quite a nice city, at least the downtown. Tons of oil money has meant lots of restoration of some beautiful old buildings. Our first few days in Baku have been pretty good. We spent a bit of time trying to buy some extra sound equipment with our new friend Valera, as well as rehearsing the set some more with some new musicians. Those lucky enough to use them are loving the new wireless in-ear monitors
2 Apr 2008 :: Album Plans
Things are starting to come together now with final song selection and even getting a budget together… I'm always daunted (and continually surprised) at how much work getting a recording done takes. Hours spent in front of a computer working out arrangements and creating demos is just a part of it. We'll be featuring quite a few songs telling the Prodigal Son story as well as some older songs that have been on the StoryBox playlist for a while now and other new tunes.
15 Mar 2008 :: Making Arrangements
Not part of any StoryBox recording…
Not part of any StoryBox recording…
Having written most of the tunes for the new record, we enter the arranging stage. We're spending a bit of time with an old friend of ours, Steve Koning, who is proving a bit of extra creative input into the process. Time consuming, but still fun.
1 Mar 2008 :: Many Thanks
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So we did all four shows, and were pretty pleased. Only one was poorly attended - but I suspect that lousy weather gets the blame for that. Hey, even our bass player couldn't make it out on the 401 due to snow. I gues that's the way it is in Canada in Febuary. We just wanted to say thanks to all the different folks who came out to hear and support us, especially the different churches that made space for us - and provided nice meals too. TheBetween did great, and some of our guests were pretty generous in helping out with the recording project so thanks for that too.
19 Feb 2008 :: 2 Down, 2 To Go
It's always an effort getting a set together and organising concerts - even if there's only four, but we just had a great last weekend in Woodstock and Mississauga. TheBetween as usual warmed up the crowd with cheesy jokes and great music, and added heaps to StoryBox on guitar, bass, didgeridoo and other gadgets. The folks that came seemed to enjoy it too, and are getting behind our plans for a new CD. So, that's exciting. If you haven't made it out yet, we've still got two more shows to go this coming weekend in Kitchener/Waterloo and the grand metropolis of Plattsville. See you there…
Jan 17 2008 :: 'The Writer' mix nearly there
Thanks to some friends from church in NZ, and a little bit of technical wizardy at Vertical Studios, the first mix of 'The Writer' is almost finished. We did it in both English and Turkish, and features a mix of Western and Turkish instruments. We're really pleased with the way it is sounding, and it's good to have the first couple of tracks for the new album more or less complete.
16 Nov 2007 :: The Writer Remix
Guitar parts
Guitar parts
As the first stab for a new album, we thought we'd try and re-record The Writer. But this time we wanted to use real drums, some Turkish instruments and have the song sung in Turkish - by a real Turk! We have three days booked in a studio in Istanbul and hope to get everything mixed down before most of us leave town for a few months. After the first (slow) day, things were sounding good, but there's still quite a way to go. Check back in the next week or two to see if we have been able to put an early mix of the song here.
29 Oct 2007 :: It's all Rock'n'Roll
Regrettably, having got all practiced up for the new rock line-up, we had to switch bass players just as we had learned all the songs and delivered a couple of decent evenings of music. And, Exodus bar has decided after all that Tuesday nights are not exactly the most rocking night of the week. We can play if we like, but they won't pay! Regrettably, the night taxi drivers are quite so freed from the oppressive chains of capitalism. But, the good news is that we have found a new bass player, and are actively seeking new gigs with the new line-up. Watch the concerts page for more details.
10 Oct 2007 :: Pub Gigs
It'll be a bit of a change from our regular sorts of gigs, but StoryBox will be doing a few nights at the recently renamed Exodus Bar (ex Salsanat) on Istiklal, Beyoğlu. We will have a new bass player for these gigs, and our occasional sax player will feature regulalry. Of course, being a rock club, we'll playing a bit more upbeat which should be a bit of fun too.
24 Jul 2007 :: Extending the Band
It's kind of been on our hearts for a long time that we would like to have some Turks playing with us in StoryBox, even if just for the occasional gig. There always seems to be some reason why we can't pull it off. And so it was nice to have Yoel join in with us on bass for a full length set in Akköy the other week. I suspect our music was a bit on the "light" side for him, but hey, we all had fun - including all the young people in the audience. We are yet to add anyone permanently to the group, but hey, it may happen one day. . .
2 Aug 2007 :: New Album Thoughts
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In the lull between StoryBox tours, some of us have been trying to write some new material that will hopefully feature in the Lebanon tour in October, and ultimately make it onto a new record. Quite how we'll manage to get it all recorded and (of course) paid for is not entirely clear, but it is something to work towards. It is always good to be writing new material - saves getting bored playing the same old songs every time you play.
25 June 2007 :: Little England
Gear ready, waiting and probably also sweating
Gear ready, waiting and probably also sweating
Due to recent "disturbances" in Turkey, some folks in Fethiye weren't too keen for us to do one of our normal concerts, and so we set up and did a quiet little gig for some of the English speaking folk in Fethiye; many thanks to Mike and Mary for hosting us and Jan and Marge for putting us up. The set featured a few more English songs than normal, but it was good all the same. Roasting temperatures made for a pleasant day the next day as we spent it on the water in a canoe and a little yacht.
23 June 2007 :: Hot, Hot, Hot
Somewhere it would have been nice to have been
Somewhere it would have been nice to have been
Antalya really is a nice place to visit - it sure is great beng a touring musician sometimes. But what you can't see from the photo is that the temperature's here were about 45 degrees C. That is pretty hot, and made playing a 5pm concert pretty tough in the end. But, it was great to meet up with the folks at the Antalya Incil Kilisesi, and also play with a great little bass player who goes to the church. Always a pleasure to work with gifted musos, and especially so when they are Turkish. We look forward to meeting you again mate!
21 April 2007 :: Expensive Coffee
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I rarely set foot in a Starbucks - you know, I don't like coffee all that much, object to how much the things that I do like in their menu cost, not to mention the whole "corporate America taking over the world" thing, so it was odd to be playing a gig here. Our bass-player for the week, Andre, and his lovely wife have a regular Friday night gig at a downtown Beirut Starbucks (the name of which escapes me…) so he invited us to play a set with him. It was a lot of fun in the end and we enjoyed the more relaxed and acoustic environment of the gig. Made a change from the more electric version of StoryBox we wheeled out in the schools during the week in an attempt to keep kids awake (especially at 7:30am). By the way, I don't think you can really get a Starbucks inhaler. The picture comes from here.
19 April 2007 :: Blast from the Past
No bullets please, we're allergic
No bullets please, we're allergic
Although there was no trouble in Lebanon while we were there, it is not unusual to come across visual reminders of turbulence in Lebanon's recent history. To be honest, the whole "war" thing - while on people's lips to an extent - seemed very distant during our stay. It was hard to imagine what things were like not so long ago while standing in the middle of the beautifully rebuilt city centre. You wonder what the tanks are all for.
18 April 2007 :: World's Earliest Soundcheck
Enthusiastic at 7:30am
Enthusiastic at 7:30am
It was bad enough being picked up at 5:30 am. But then, having to actually sing (usually it's required in a sound check) at 6:30am for a concert starting at 7:30am beggars belief! In the end, our first event in this school in Beirut went really well, and we enjoyed meeting some of the kids. A special hi goes to Nareg, Marine and Christina who sent us a message from this website!
15 April 2007 :: Off to Paris (in the Middle East at least)
One of us spent a few days in Beirut earlier this year checking out the lie of the land. The end result was that we were able to find some folks in Beirut with the gear and connections to help us tour there, and take other bands with us. So, this evening StoryBox flies out to Beirut to spend about a week visiting schools, StarBucks (I guess the rules for taking live music must be a bit different in Lebanon) and playing at a conference. Last time I was in Beirut, it felt quite different to our native Istanbul (and Turkey all over really); it remains to be seen how folks there enjoy our music and message
12 April 2007 :: Turkey Tour Update
Evidence of Antakya's Christian past
Evidence of Antakya's Christian past
We were only away for a week, but we sure covered a lot of ground. The tour started in Kuşadası with a couple of nights playing at the Green Island Restaurant down by the water. Since the tourist season hasn't really started there, both nights were not exactly "packed houses", but it was good to meet some of the staff (including Tarkan's ex bass player if you can believe that), Cuneyt and Joke (she's Belgian, that's actually how you spell it) and some other folks. Many thanks to Mark and especially his daughter Charity for doing translation at the last minute. Moving on from there, we were lucky to be able to fly to Malatya out east and save ourselves 18 hours on a bus. We participated in an Easter church service that about 50 folks from Malatya (and a lot further afield) put together in a hotel. It was exciting to see so many folks coming together to celebrate the Messiah' resurrection. We continued onto Gaziantep and although the police didn't seem to like us in the place we played, the cafe owner, Harun, is a pretty bold chap and had us play anyway. Since the place was prety small and the largest part of the cafe hasn't got any seats, we played this concert to a wall for much of the time (!) while the audience listened in little side rooms. Quite unnerving I must say. But, we met a lot of folks who seemed really interested in what we had to say as well as sing. The next day saw us in Antakya, a place all of us love visiting. Regrettably, we were there for less than 24 hours, but it was neat to finally visit the church that Hamdullah and Elmas have been part of, meet some of the other local believers and play another gig in a smoky subterranean cafe. The mixing desk was so dirty and covered in smoke, none of us wanted to adjust sound levels on it during sound check... We spent an hour or so the following morning having coffee with our neighbours, a neat old Arab couple from an Orthodox back ground. They have seen pretty much their entire (large) family leave the region over the last generation or two; just part of the general mass exodus of Christians from the Middle East in the last 100 years I guess. An 18 hours bus trip saw us back in Istanbul at 4.30am the following morning. God bless Has buses I say.
5 Apr 2007 :: On the road again Turkey
Well, it's about 6:30am on Thursday morning and instead of being in the shower I am trying to drop a comment or two onto the website. It has been something of a stretch to get this tour organised with tons of last minute stuff, but hopefully that won't be a sign of things to come. We are looking forward to seeing some old friends and making a few new ones and seeing how the new songs (Turkish and English) go 'in the wild' as it were.
Early Feb 2007 :: Artistic Inspiration
Great recording software
Great recording software
Having not really written much new material since coming to Turkey, it was good to get a week away from life in Istanbul and go to Konya for a week or so of intense songwriting. Away from the distractions of the internet and telephone calls, it was good to put in some solid hours trying to finish off some song ideas that have been bubbling round in my mind for the last few years. Modern PC based recording technology is such these days that it was relatively easy to commit these ideas to vinyl (albeit of the digital variety). It was also good to ghet a start on Turkish İlahi. As these songs are polished up and finished in the coming months, expect to see some new material on the StoryBox set list.
January 2007 :: New Website
Well, it has said "coming soon" on the old web-site for well over a year now. I guess that stretches the definition of soon somewhat. Regardless, it's finally here, and after a lot of hard work, we hope you like it.
30 November 2006 :: Kyrgyzstan Tour
Süleyman, our Turkish driver tries out his guitar skills
Süleyman, our Turkish driver tries out his guitar skills
We had a couple of weeks in Kyrgyzstan during November which was a good time. It started off with an earthquake the morning we arrived, and finished with fairly heavy snow on the day we left. In between, we did 10 concerts, mostly in the Bishkek region, although we ventured out East to the lake region and did three shows out there. If you get a chance to get to K-stan, make sure you check out the şaşlık (shash-look is about as close as I think I can transcribe it) which has got to be the juiciest and tastiest meat I have ever eaten. The scenery was also pretty stunning, but compared to Turkey, there is a long way to go in terms of economic development. No more complaining about the Turks constantly tearing up their roads and repairing them; it doesn't happen often enough in some parts of K-stan. We met some good people (including a hip hop group that played with us most nights) called New Life (or whatever that is in Russian) and hope that we were a blessing to some of the folks we met.
10 November 2006 :: Konya mini-tour
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While we were planning for the June 2006 tour, some friends in Konya wanted us to go there, but since there wouldn't be too many university students there in June, wanted us to come some other time. So, we finally got around to organising a wee trip in October to do a few cafes and a celebration Sunday service - also in a cafe. We had a good time at the Buyulu Fener where the folks there really seem to like Turkish pop. Or at least, they were kind to us even if we didn't sound too much like the real thing. It was good to meet some local folks, and even talk about spiritual things with some of them too.
28 May 2006 :: Turkey Tour June 2006
A zurna player on the streets in Safranbolu
A zurna player on the streets in Safranbolu
It's an idea we've been toying with for a while. Let's do something small. Other than being a whole lot cheaper and easier for concert promoters to organise, smaller concerts are just a whole lot more intimate. Of course, who doesn't like playing for 10,000 screaming fans in some football stadium (although we're not actually speaking from experience here). But, that isn't really what StoryBox is about. If you get the chance - and since you speak English, you may not be in Turkey where the tour is happening - come out and see us. Check out the dates on the tour part of the site.
 
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