A little background…
The Room are a melodic rock band from the Southeast of the UK. The six band members bring together a broad range of musical influences which has helped form The Room’s distinctive style. Smart songs with great melodies are the essence of the band’s sound. Formed in 2010 with Martin Wilson from neo-prog rock band GLD and bassist Andy Rowe were joined by former GLD guitarist Steve Anderson, drummer Andrew Rae and Steve Checkley on Keys. The band started writing their first album over the winter 2011, recording it at Platform Studios in the summer of 2012. Melodic Revolution Records signed The Room on an album deal and Open Fire was released in Dec 2012.
March 2014 saw the arrival of new drummer Chris York. The band signed a deal for album two with UK label Bad Elephant Music in 2015 and the album, Beyond The Gates of Bedlam was released in November 2015 to further critical acclaim..
Nominated in the Best New Band category at the 2016 Classic Rock Society awards The Room always deliver an outstanding show.
Following a series of highly successful supports for Inglorious, Lifesigns and Soft Machine, a busy festival season and some headline shows, The Room filmed their final show of 2016 at The Robin 2 for release on DVD in 2017.
2017 was all about writing for the new album although the band did play a number of festivals and shows trying out some of the new material. In February 2018 The Room announced album 3 was to be released in November 18 and it would be recorded with legendary producer John Mitchell at the controls. 2018 also saw the departure of keyboard player Steve Checkley to be replaced by Mark Dixon. The line up was strengthened with the introduction of guitarist Eric Bouillette with both new members appearing on the 3rd album.
The Room are:
Martin Wilson ~ vocals
Andy Rowe ~ bass & backing vocals
Steve Anderson ~ guitar, keyboards & backing vocals
Chris York ~ drums & backing vocals
Eric Bouillette ~ guitar & violin
Mark Dixon ~ keyboards
Martin began treading boards at very young age, his mother was an avid Am Dram enthusiast and ran the Little theatre group in Scunthorpe, North Lincs. Martin played many parts and also appeared on the local radio with a production of ‘An Inspector Calls’, acting not being to his taste he looked for an alternative outlet. After he left school, Martin drifted from one local band to another, most not lasting more than a rehearsal or two. It was when he was 19 that he bumped into Andrew Rae and his brother Stuart and with the help of a few friends Legacy was born.
Legacy quickly became a favourite in their home town, a rise fuelled by the progressive rock revival of the early 80’s with bands such as Marillion and IQ. The band moved to Sheffield to concentrate on ‘getting a deal’ and the unreleased album ‘A million to One’ was recorded, however with no deal on the horizon the band Split after two years.
Martin pretty much retired from the music biz and in the mid 80’s moved to London. Andrew Rae and Martin shared a flat in the east end of London where Martin met his partner Linda.
In 1990 Martin through ex-Legacy guitarist Sam Smith met the keyboard wizard Louis David in Oxford, it became apparent that their styles married very well and writing began. Sam left soon after and Julian Hunt was drafted in on Guitars, Martin Invited ex-Legacy stalwarts, Andrew Rae (drums) and Stuart Ellerington (bass) to join and Shadowland was formed.
After two years of writing and gigging Andrew and Stuart left due to logistical and personal reasons. Mark Robotham (drums) and Sean Spear (bass) where drafted in, and Grey Lady Down was born.
The Band went on to bigger and better things and with four studio albums, a live album and European and US tours under their belts the band went on until 1998 when they split only to reform two years later with new drummer Phil Millichamp. The album ‘Star-Crossed’ was recorded a tour completed, but the band was finally laid to rest in 2002.
It was around this time that Martin was forced away from the music scene due to his son developing Retinoblastoma (Retinal Cancer). The fight to save Joshua’s sight would last for 8 years; unfortunately, even with pioneering treatment in the USA, Joshua lost his sight in 2009.
During Joshua’s illness Martin kept his hand in after being invited by ex-Camberwick Green and Mud keyboard player Andy Ball to join a 14 piece soul band The Inevitables, with Ex 80’s band Breathe guitarist Marcus Lillington. They went on play a 10 sell out shows, mainly raising cash and awareness for Eye cancer charities. This project is still on going.
(Photo: John Price)
Andy Rowe started playing bass guitar whilst at school in the 1970’s. Joining forces with two local mates they formed a ‘Punk’ style outfit and performed at the school and local parties. After leaving full time education, Andy joined Reading NWOBHM band Firebird who became hugely popular in the area and with their single release in 1979, (produced by Ian Gillan from Deep Purple) they climbed the Rock Charts to number 8.
Firebird split as the guitarists left for university and Andy joined ex The Nice drummer Brian (Blinky) Davison in London based band Prime Cut. The band was a massive success in the London club scene and started touring further afield encouraging record company interest. However, ‘musical differences’ saw Andy leave the band and join Reading based rock band ‘One Way Street’. This project was short lived and Andy retired from the business for some 25 years.
Andy got the bug for playing again in 2008 and joined Rock covers band TheScam. This rekindled Andy’s passion for playing live and in the studio and he joined forces with ex Grey Lady Down vocalist Martin Wilson in the BigFish project. The rest is history.
Andy Plays Overwater Bass Guitars with Strings from Elite. Amplification is Genz Benz.
(Photo: Chris Walkden)
Steve’s initial interest in guitar started whilst still at school with a TV programme featuring a performance of ‘Cavatina’ by John Williams. His first paycheck from a Saturday temp job was spent on a black Yamaha electric, and the musical journey began in earnest.
After a couple of years at sixth form, starting to write and play with a number of friends, an advert placed in the newspaper ‘Loot’ yielded a meeting with keyboard-playing scientist Neil Durant, and the seeds of all things Sphere³ical started to take shape.
More about GLD can be found here.
Steve plays Parker, Ovation and Patrick Eggle guitars, Roland V-Guitar systems, Crate and Atomic Amps.
(Photo: Chris Walkden)
Chris started playing the drums back in the summer of 1983, age 18 in Penn, near High Wycombe. Firstly in a Goth/Punk band Pelennor Fields which morphed into New Romantic band Avenir Son. After experimenting with various hair styles and colours he moved on into Glam Rock outfit Runaway Stray. Here the hair got bigger and so did the band. Coming runners up in the Royal Standard Battle of the Bands in Walthamstow and 4th in the British Music Fair battle of the Bands at Olympia.
After leaving Runaway Stray, Chris took a break to concentrate on Tae Kwon Do training.
A short while later, Chris came back to drumming and spent the next 12 years playing in various bands such as Noise Criteria, Afterglow, Park Lane and psychedelic rockers Open Mind who he toured Holland with in 1993.
After 6 months in New Zealand and 2 years in South East London, Chris returned to Middlesex, had shoulder surgery and eventually found his way into the very busy party covers band Punchmonkey. Here he spent the next 6 years playing close to 100 gigs a year throughout the Home Counties.
While taking another short break, to recover from tennis elbow in both elbows. Chris took up singing and joined Prog covers band SecondSight (which later became INdisciplineD) Just as a hobby but they do a few gigs every now and again.
But always a drummer and having seen away the tennis elbow he joined rock covers band Nemesis. Once again for the next couple of years he gigged relentlessly around the home counties.
But now he finds himself wanting to rediscover his creative side again in an originals band and has joined The Room…
Chris Plays Tama Starclassic Drums, Tama Speed Cobra double pedals, Ricochet Octobans, Sabian cymbals and Gibralter hardware…and Shure WH30 headset mic.
Eric is a multi-instrumentalist from the south of France now based firmly in the UK. He started classical violin studies at an early age, at the CNR of Nice French Riviera (French conservatoire). He has taught in many schools since then, including the ISN (International School of Nice) and Hogan Academy Newbury UK. This teaching experience gave Eric the opportunity to learn a variety of other instruments such as guitar piano and drums.
Eric started his professional career on stage with covers bands like Genesya ( tribute to Genesis ) , Ziggy’s Band ( tribute to David Bowie ) , Damnation ( Tribute to Opeth ) and original composition with RDSK ( symphonic rock ) , Nine Skies ( Progressive Rock ).
Eric’s musical influences are various from classical music to progressive rock, from jazz to metal though as he says as “long as it’s played with passion”
Eric plays PRS Special Edition Guitars through Line 6 Amplification
Mark started playing music in 1979 on an old 1960s Farfisa organ. Around the mid-80s he bought his first drum machine and synthesizer, connected a computer with a sequencing package and began learning the art of copying songs by ear and sequencing his own tracks.
By the late 80s Mark had collaborated with a vocalists and guitarists. He had also started to write his own music. In the early 90s he joined a couple of cover bands and was playing full time in a hotel bar and club in South Africa. In 1993 he moved to the UK and music became just a hobby for many years until he reignited his passion and completed a music diploma with The Open University, in 2005.
Mark uses a Nord Electro 5d and a Nord Lead 4 synthesizer to create exciting and unique patches, and enjoys experimenting with all the features the keyboards have to offer to create interesting results.
Further experienced gained playing with classic rock, pop, funk and tribute groups, most recently Sweet Frequency, Supercollider and Face the Music.
Mark’s influences include Whitesnake, van Halen, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Journey, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Toto, Killers, Jamiroquai, Duran Duran, Simple minds, Depeche mode, Yazoo, to name a few.
(Photo: John Price)
Andrew Rae (2010 – 2013)
Former drummer Andrew Rae helped shape The Room’s very individual sound. Growing up with Martin Wilson in the Lincolnshire town of Scunthorpe, they played in a number of bands together. After a long gap, they were reunited in Big Fish the project that grew into The Room.
Andrew helped write Open Fire and played all except two of the bands live shows up until the onset of Tinnitus forced his departure from the band at the end of 2013 . He will be missed!
Steve Checkley (2010 – 2018)
Steves last show with The Room was in North Wales at HRH AOR in March 2018. Starting a new job and with the pressure of a growing family Steve reluctantly decided to leave the band. Steves contribution on all three studio albums and the live DVD was extraordinary. We thank you Steve and love ya to bits! (said in a strange brummie accent!)