Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Hundred Homing Pigeons: Les Nemes: Bass Master Class Part 1

Les Nemes is best known as a founder member of Haircut 100 and played bass with Miracle Mile in the early days.
He's just launched his 'Bass Master Class' on YouTube (see below) and is currently detailing his life story on his website.
Here's a snippet of the boy's story when he first encounters Nick Heyward:

"So, the weekend came and I shoved all my gear into the back of my VW Beetle, (the old 6 volt model which meant if you put the wipers on at night, the lights went off!) and headed for central London. 
I walked into the board room in the Skiclub Of Great Britain, Eton Square where Nick lived in the basement flat as his parents ran the bar. 
The boardroom was huge and the club was empty at the weekends so a great place to set up and play. That was to be where we rehearsed as a full blown band. We set up the gear, me, Tim on guitar, Rob on drums and Nick on guitar and singing. He went through a few ideas and then said, "Shall we try one?" I think I am right in saying the first song we played was "Spanish", pure Nick and pure genius.
I had no idea what to play, I wanted to be melodic, I wanted to play something that added to the song so I just trusted it would come and let go. I didn't really know the chords but we just went for it and by the end of the first verse, it all felt so good I knew this was right, I knew this was a major turning point in my life. One of the most important things I felt was that I was in a room with three other guys who didn't really know what they were doing, they were none of them musically educated, they didn't know about scales, they just played what felt and sounded good and we all worked so well together.

I was instantly, but really instantly in the right place. I also knew that this man was an amazing songwriter that would go on to pen some of the most important songs in musical history. When we finished the song, we looked at each other and laughed. This was the first time Haircut One Hundred played together. I had at last found a purpose, a group of lovely guys that I had something in common with and a future to head for. In a way, I had found my Rod Stewart and the Faces.
I think I am right when I say that Nick noticed my playing was adding a lot more to the songs and the band then just a bass line. I in turn was so inspired by his songs all of these bass lines came out of me like someone had just released a hundred homing pigeons from a cage. Next we needed to get a set list together and start playing a few gigs. A new world was about to open ..."

I wonder if I'll feature in the future?
If so, I hope that he doesn't mention that unfortunate incident with a halibut and the tube of toothpaste...
Btw, best bit of the video below is when Les takes his glasses off and his nose comes with it...


  1. Great read Trevor, thanks for the link too.

  2. I met Les through a great friend, Steve French who played with the Haircuts post NH. Les played on some tracks for our songwriting venture yonks ago: French & Regal. From the few times I had with Les I still remember him being possibly the guy who made me lafF the most. Beautiful guy. I've been listening to Bicycle Thieves today in my workshop (Spotify I'm afraid - .00001th of a cent on it's way to you now.)... Lovely stuff. Thanks. Peace&Love

    1. Gray, great to get your note. I remember Les telling me about your venture; think he also might have played me some stuff. Knowing his enthusiasm he was probably already making the promo video in his head; which probably involved Ronnie Laine and naked women….
      He is indeed a 'beautiful guy'. 'Beautiful but flawed' as famously described by some (ugly) comedian in a Crouch End talent show. Work your way through Miracle Mile stuff. Les also appears on the sophomore; Candids.
      Then it goes:
      Slow Fade
      Stories We Could Tell
      Coffee and Stars (a best of)
      And then last year's In Cassidy's Care.
      Thanks for the .00001th of a cent; I'll spend it wisely (once I've split the item)