Who’s who

20190126_7508681_punchhouseband_shootRichard Brook (banjo, vocals, songwriter) 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.

Since those remarkable high points Richard 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.

Jo Edye is the band’s manager. He gets the gigs. He has a sideline as an Artistic Director of Crude Apache Theatre Co., and won deserved recognition for his cultural achievements and commitment as  a winner in the 2017 Norfolk Arts Awards. Contact him here.

20190126_7508693_punchhouseband_shootTim 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. These include Doomweasel (comedy rock), The Rum Brothers (country and Irish), Stealing The Fire (progressive rock), and Ubermodo (blues and country rock). His career as a composer and sound designer has led him to working as musical director for companies like No-Name Community Arts, Crude Apache, and Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company. For Stuff of Dreams 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. Here is a new song from his 2021 solo album, As Sure As the Sun Rises in the East. The album was reviewed by Prog magazine as ‘an entertaining and compelling collection’, with ‘Pull Boy Pull’ getting special praise: ‘Over jig-like syncopations, Lane highlights Henry Bloggs and the crew of the Cromer lifeboat, and his dramatic narrative describing their rescue of two foundered ships one stormy night in 1917 is stirring stuff’. Enjoy.

Tim is the glorious leader of the Punch House Band, and demands absolute obedience.

20190126_7508651_punchhouseband_shootGeorge McKay (double bass, songwriter) 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 few years ago.

George played around the area for a couple of years with the Joey Herzfeld Trio—Jewish-tinged songs for voice, accordion/ piano (Joey), trumpet (Chris Dowding) and bass—and currently with hymn—another trio (sometimes with friends), of trumpets and loops (Chris), analogue effects and percussion (David Ross), and bass. Each of these bands plays all original music. There’s a jazz trio (drums, trumpet/loops, bass), playing standards and originals, called Tangential too, that gets regular work. 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 at georgemckay.org. As a taster, here is his arrangement of the 1792 Robert Burns anti-transatlantic slave trade protest song, ‘The Slaves Lament.’ It’s from the 2021 hymn album In Lockdown, and features George on bass and Chris Dowding on trumpets, loops, fx.

In his mind, George is the eminence grise of the Punch House Band. Also: Sagittarius.

20190126_7508660_punchhouseband_shootLeighton Melville (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, and Freddie Mercury. 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. 

As the band’s frontman, Leighton is used to dealing with adoring fans. He has many moves, few of which are like Elvis’s, though he does play guitar like the King.

20190126_7508665_punchhouseband_shootJason Thompson (cajon) 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 xx years experience who specialises in thrash metal and has played in Dogbreath, Clunk the Coffin and etc, that sort of thing.

Jason can often be seen at gigs sitting on a wooden box and, for some reason only he may know, hitting it hard.