Touchstone (band)

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Touchstone
OriginHertfordshire, England
GenresProgressive rock, progressive metal
Years active2001- present
Website[1]
Members
Rob Cottingham
Adam Hodgson
Andre 'Moo' Moorghen
Kim 'Elkie' Seviour
Henry Rogers
Past members
Mike Forrester
Steve Barfoot
Simon Cook
Jona Sutch
Liz Clayden
Alasdair Melville
 
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Touchstone
OriginHertfordshire, England
GenresProgressive rock, progressive metal
Years active2001- present
Website[1]
Members
Rob Cottingham
Adam Hodgson
Andre 'Moo' Moorghen
Kim 'Elkie' Seviour
Henry Rogers
Past members
Mike Forrester
Steve Barfoot
Simon Cook
Jona Sutch
Liz Clayden
Alasdair Melville

Touchstone is a rock band from the UK. The original band was formed by Rob Cottingham in 2001, after the release of his solo album 'Behind the Orchard Tree' - recorded at Linford Manor Studios in Milton Keynes (Jamiroqaui, Feeder, Skunk Ananse). Adam Hodgson joined in 2003. Other more recent band members include bassist Andre 'Moo' Moorghen, singer Kim Seviour and drummer Henry Rogers. Touchstone's music is distributed by Proper Music Distribution.

Contents

Biography

Touchstone's first studio recording was an EP called Mad Hatters, in 2006. Its four songs included 'Misguided Fool' and 'The Mad Hatters' Song'. The EP was well-received, and spurred Rob and Adam to continue writing more material for the band. It is the only release to feature vocalist Liz Claydon and drummer Simon Cook.

Their first full-length album was Discordant Dreams and was the first to feature Kim Seviour and Alasdair Melville (now drummer for London band 'The Knights Of The Realm') on vocals and drums respectively. The album was praised as an improvement from Mad Hatters, and with tracks such as 'Blacktide', 'Shadow' and 'The Beggar's Song', it showcases the 'Touchstone sound'. The album was recorded by Ben Humphreys and mixed by John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Kino) at his studios in Reading, Berkshire, and performs a guitar solo on the song "Dignity".

Discordant Dreams was toured in September 2008 around the UK with It Bites on The Tall Ships Tour, with Touchstone featuring as support. The tour consisted of 12 UK dates and was a major success for both bands, the final night taking place in Brighton.

The album led the band to win the Classic Rock Society Best New Band 2007 award, presented by John Wetton of Asia.

Touchstone's next studio work was Wintercoast. Released in June 2009, it features an opening narrative from the Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons, describing someone's life in a city and his desire to leave for a place "seen reflected in a dream", called 'Wintercoast'. The album was also considered 'a step up from their previous album'. In particular, it has more emphasis on keyboard melodies, giving a more Marillion-style feel (as can be heard at the opening of the track, 'Line in the Sand'). There is also greater emphasis on drums and guitars, which results in passages which would fit well into the Heavy Metal genre.

The band performed at the 2009 United States Rites of Spring festival (ROSfest) which takes place annually in Glenside near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the first time they had played outside of the United Kingdom, and their performance was well-received, resulting in many positive reviews, including one by the website, USA Progressive Music.[1]

Other recent performances of note were at Cambridge Rock Festival in 2009 alongside Asia, Uriah Heep, Focus, Mostly Autumn, Breathing Space and many others in support of Wintercoast - as well as a performance at 'CalProg' in Los Angeles alongside It Bites, Karmakanic and Agents Of Mercy.

In April 2010, Alasdair Melville decided to leave the band to pursue other musical endeavors - after an 18 month break from music, he joined forces with an old college friend to become drummer for London based band The Knights Of The Realm who in July 2012 headlined at the legendary 100 Club in Oxford Street, London. He was replaced by Henry Rogers (DeeExpus) on a temporary basis. However, on 24 July it was announced that Henry would become a permanent member of Touchstone.

In July 2010, Touchstone released their first live album called Live in the USA which features songs from two festivals played in America; namely ROSfest 2009 and Calprog 2009. They played at the prestigious High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London and opened the Prog stage on Saturday 24 July, playing the first songs at the festival.

Throughout the remainder of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, the band took some time out to write material for their upcoming third studio album. A short tour called 'The Progressive Nation Tour' happened in March 2011. On 1 August 2011, Touchstone announced that they had signed to SPV GmbH's Steamhammer label. Their album The City Sleeps was released in October 2011 on this label, and entered the UK rock album charts at No. 36.

In March 2012, Touchstone did a mini-UK tour. In July 2012, the band announced a two-week European tour commencing in late September 2012, co-headlining with The Reasoning.

Founding member, Rob Cottingham, announced his second solo album project called "Captain Blue" on 13 July 2012, and announced drummer, Gary O'Toole (Steve Hackett Band) and bassist, Dr Goat Foot, on 20 July 2012.

The album is due out in October 2012 on the Heavy Right Foot Records label.

The Touchstone Sound

Touchstone has been described as "A band who combine the prog sensibilities of Yes with the hard rocking aptitudes of Van Halen",[2] based on the diversity of the band members' influences. For example, Cottingham cites melodic bands such as Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis as influences. Hodgson, on the other hand, has 'rockier' sensibilities, having previously been in hard-rock bands. He looks towards artist such as Joe Satriani for his inspiration. However, the two of them share a mutual love of Yes, and it was similarities such as this that resulted in them working together.

The band, as a whole, does cite the progressive genre as an influence, and they are classed as 'Progressive'. But their sound is made possible by the influence of other styles. Moorghen has a varied list of influences*, but listening to his playing, it can be said that anything that involves complex bass guitar inspires him.

The vocalist, Kim Seviour, provides a style which, when combined with the rest of the band, complete the 'Touchstone Sound'. Kim admires more modern artists such as Muse and Our Lady Peace, and has been in bands which covered song by artists like Guns and Roses and Metallica. She also cites Folk singers as an influence to her approach to singing.

Much of the bands earlier heavy sound can be attributed to Alasdair Melville and his love of hard rock - with a sound described by fans as 'powerhouse' he added much of the necessary weight, which is skillfully replicated by the current incumbent Rogers (formerly of Sheffield based band DeeExpus). Melville now plays for London based Rock band "The Knights Of The Realm".

This blend of influences makes 'The Touchstone Sound' accessible to fans of genres from Classic Prog to Modern Metal.

Members

Current members
Former members

Lineups

2003-20042004-20052005-20062006
  • Steve Barton - drums
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Mike Forrester - bass
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Simon Cook - drums
  • Jona Sutch - bass
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Simon Cook - drums
  • Jona Sutch - bass
  • Liz Clayden - lead vocals
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Simon Cook - drums
  • Liz Clayden - lead vocals
  • Andre 'Moo' Moorghen - bass
2006-20072007-20102010–present
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Liz Clayden - lead vocals
  • Andre 'Moo' Moorghen - bass
  • Alasdair Melville - drums
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Andre 'Moo' Moorghen - bass
  • Alasdair Melville - drums
  • Kim 'Elkie' Seviour - lead vocals
  • Rob Cottingham - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Adam Hodgson - guitars
  • Andre 'Moo' Moorghen - bass
  • Kim 'Elkie' Seviour - lead vocals
  • Henry Rogers - drums

Discography

Studio Albums

EPs

Live Albums

Critical acclaim

The album Discordant Dreams was rated 7 out of 10 in the July 2008 (10th Birthday Special Edition) issue of Classic Rock by Geoff Barton.[3] It has received praise from well-known figures such as Jeff Wayne (War Of The Worlds), Rick Wakeman of Yes and most recently[when?] from Jeremy Irons.

"Shadow", a track from the album Discordant Dreams, was featured on the "Prog Spawn" cover disk of the August 2008 issue of Classic Rock.[4]

Wintercoast has received much praise and press coverage, including another review by Geoff Barton,[5] and the track "Strange Days" played on the radio stations Total Rock, ARfm & Phoenix Radio.

References

  1. ^ RoSFest review from USA Progressive Music
  2. ^ Touchstone Mini-bio on Classic Rock Magazine's website
  3. ^ Discordant Dreams review by Geoff Barton
  4. ^ 'Shadow' feature on 'Prog Spawn' CD and write-up in Classic Rock Magazine
  5. ^ Wintercoast review by Geoff Barton

External links