Richard Brook (banjo, vocals) is a guitarist who first picked up a banjo at university when horn blower Charlie Codd needed a rhythm section for a new trad jazz combo. There followed a short but lucrative career as a street performer across the North of England. As a long-standing member of Crude Apache Theatre Company, Richard’s musical experiences with the company include playing with the Crude Apache Red Hot Seven, heading a skiffle group in his own production of The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawn, and giving a reggae/punk groove to an outdoor show about the well-known squatting community in Argyle Street, Norwich. Recently he has adopted a more folk-oriented style in the highly popular Singing The Postman, a show about local hero Allan Smethurst (aka The Singing Postman), and in Peter Bellamy’s wonderful ballad opera, The Transports. Songs from both these shows have found their way into the Punch House Band’s repertoire.
Tim Lane (guitar, vocals, bandleader, main songwriter) is a freelance performer, composer and musician who has performed in bands playing all kinds of music from folk to funk, and progressive rock to bluegrass. The list of bands includes Doomweasel (comedy rock), The Rum Brothers (country and Irish), Stealing The Fire (progressive rock), and Ubermodo (blues and country rock). He has pursued a career as a composer and sound designer which has led into working as musical director for companies like No-Name Community Arts, Crude Apache and Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company for whom he has also co-written two plays The Poisoners’ Pact and Anglian Mist. He has written musicals and soundscapes, soundtracks and songs and has composed work for bands and choirs both amateur and professional. When he is not involved in music he is acting or directing. You can hear lots of Tim’s other music on his bandcamp page. Some of his songs from various productions over the years have made their way into the Punch House setlist.
George McKay (double bass) has a background in jazz and improvised music, and is something of a newcomer to playing in a folk-style band. Born in Glasgow, he moved with his family to Norfolk as a boy in the late 1960s, and went to school in Great Yarmouth, Burnham Market, King’s Lynn, and Norwich. East, north, west, and central Norfolk: yes, he’s been around. In the 1980s he worked for Community Music East in its earliest days. He left Norwich in the late eighties, and returned only a couple of years ago. He currently plays around the area also with Joey Herzfeld Trio—Jewish-tinged songs for voice, accordion/ piano (Joey), trumpet (Chris Dowding) and bass—and hymn—another trio, of trumpets and loops (Chris), analogue effects and percussion (Dave Ross), and bass. Both these bands play all original music. One of the things he loves about being in The Punch House Band is the number and variety of songs about and from Norfolk and East Anglia. You can read about George’s adventures in music over the decades on his website georgemckay.org here.
Jason Thompson (cajon, bongos) is a rock drummer who plays hand percussion in the band. We asked him for a short music bio for the website and he asked ‘What like?’ so we wrote a spoof one as an example and he said ‘Use that.’ JT is a kit drummer with 52 years experience who specialises in thrash metal and has played in Dogbreath, Clunk the Coffin and etc, that sort of thing.
Leighton Williams (lead vocals, guitar, songwriter) is a singer and performer with a background in musical theatre and a taste for the macabre. He has a wide and diverse range of influences, including The Tiger Lilies, Scott Walker, Neko Case, Camille O’Sullivan, Edward Gorey, Freddie Mercury and many, many others. Leighton has lived in Norwich since 1999, and spent much of his time with Crude Apache, where he met both Tim and Richard, a fruitful association which ultimately led to the forming of The Punch House Band.