No porkies over rebirth of MTV star

Daz Rice, of the Blackpool band The Blue Pig Orchestra
Daz Rice, of the Blackpool band The Blue Pig Orchestra
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Some people in music talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.

You couldn’t accuse Daz Rice of that.

As well as being a thoroughly nice bloke, and owner of successful music shop Dazamakiz, Rice has been involved in bands all his life and has got a lot further than most – enjoying a serious brush with fame in the 90s.

Back then the Blackpool lad (below) was in Kiss Of The Gyspy, a band led by Fleetwood singer/songwriter, Tony Mitchell, who were signed by Atlantic Records and went on a nationwide tour of the UK and America.

Alas just when they were on the peak of serious fame (they had headlined the Bulldog Festival in front of 28,000 people and appeared on MTV) along came Nirvana and changed the music tastes of the day.

Kiss The Gypsy went their separate ways and Daz even took what you might call a proper job – landlord of a bistro. “It turned me grey though, too much like hard work,” he says.

He came back to Blackpool, opened his music store, married, and that should probably have been the end of that. But once a musician...

“I knew some lads in a band and the first time I went to see them, they asked me to join because their guitarist was leaving,” he said.

That band were The Blue Pig Orchestra and it has proved a wise choice because the five-piece are going great guns.

As well as Daz, the band is made up of Mike Rolland (guitar and vocal), Joanna Byrne (vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion), Stuart Emery (bass) and Mark Mitchell (drums and vocals).

They have two guises – they make a bit of pocket money playing covers at weddings and functions, specialising in songs like Hotel California and More Than A Feeling. Then there’s Blue Pig the original band. They’ve written plenty of their own material and will follow up last year’s well-received Witches EP with a debut album in the new year.

“I absolutely love being in the band because each individual member brings their own energy to the stage.

“We have a great time and we seem to have built a decent following,” said Daz, who’s in his 40s.

“When I joined in 2008 I know they definitely didn’t ask me to be in the band on account of how clever I am as one of them is a nurse, two are accountants and the other lectures at Blackpool and The Fylde College ... then there’s me in a shop!

“So I couldn’t pass any intellectual qualities but I do have musical qualities.”

Daz added: “Being in Kiss Of The Gypsy in the 90s was great and we released an album, went over to America and it was going great guns.

“But then Nirvana literally changed the whole music scene and ruined our chances. It was weird because we loved what Nirvana were doing but it certainly didn’t help us.” The Blue Pig Orchestra, who pride themselves on tight four-part harmonies, and whose own material sounds a little like Mumford and Sons with attitude, gig twice a week, though recording is soon to take priority.

“We’re taking all of January off and just writing material and rehearsing,” explained Daz, who is also well known on the Fylde as organiser of Yutofest (a festival donated to the memory of his son Yuto, who tragically passed away in 2011 at the age of three).

“Then sometime in February we plan to organise a big gig at a good venue, get two or three bands on, and perform a full set of originals to coincide with the release of the album.

“We’re really excited by the music we’re making. Our first EP was good and we sold a lot of copies but the 10 songs on the album are absolute stormers and we can’t wait to get out and play them.”

You can catch the Blue Pig Orchestra at The Town Hall in Poulton tomorrow, before they head to the Langdale Folk Festival on September 13.

For more details on the band go to www.thebluepigorchestra.co.uk