Former Squeeze bassist John Bentley is releasing a new album with his band The Buzniks after signing a recording deal with a company called 3M’s.
John, who lives in East Preston, will be launching the album in his home town, with a gig on December 1 at The Sea View Hotel, 127 Sea Road, East Preston from 8.30-10.30pm.
“I formed the band about two years ago just to do some local gigs, with no view of making a record. We had written a few original songs between us, but we didn’t form the band to perform them particularly. It was more about a group of friends who had a similar liking for blues music. We were all coming from that kind of place musically, and we started doing a few gigs.”
John comes from East Preston; the rest of the band are from Littlehampton.
“There are four of us, including me, and we didn’t really have any aspirations to record, but the record company must have heard about us. We were getting a good reputation and building up a fan base, and the record company must have heard and came to see us live.
"They subsequently offered us a record deal. It is just for a CD now, but depending on how album sales go, we might have a contract ultimately for releasing it on vinyl.
"For the moment, we are just really happy to have a CD out professionally. The blues background brought us together as a band, the fact that we all like similar music, but it is not just blues. It is a group of similar-aged people just coming from the same place musically. The album is all our own songs apart from a piece from Erik Satie. The rest of the album is sung. We each sing our own songs. There are ten songs on the album and I sing seven of them.”
As for John’s songs, he admits: “My lyrics can be viewed as quite depressing, I suppose. I don’t tend to write about love and things like that. I am usually writing about drug abuse or the torture of animals, not necessarily politics, but just about things that I feel strongly about. We would like to sell as many copies as possible, and if it pays for itself, then perhaps we could make another one.”
It is all very different to playing with Squeeze: “When you are in a band like Squeeze, you have to be very committed. Your time is taken up. You have got to be available. If you are trying to arrange something like a short tour for yourself and some rehearsals, it is sod’s law that Squeeze’s management will tell you ‘We need you at such and such a place!’ It does make it difficult to organise your own thing. But for the record company, this was a no brainer for them.
"They thought a lot of Squeeze fans would be interested in buying copies. Their roster is generally people that have been in well-known groups previously.” John spent 14 years in total in Squeeze… and he certainly wouldn’t rule out being called back into the foldd happen at some point.