Jimmi Clarke is an incredibly talented musician, who has performed around the world, in the West End, in Vegas and is our new band leader. We sat down with Jimmi to talk about his career and what it is like to play live for guests…
Can you tell us about what you do at Potters?
I am the band leader for the Atlas Theatre Band, which involves playing music and looking after the band. Mike West is still here but arranging the music for the Potters Theatre Company shows, as they get bigger with every new show, has become a full-time job. I have been working on and off with Potters for five years but am now full time. Potters is such a great place to work and has a really fun atmosphere, so it is wonderful to be here permanently six days a week. I really enjoy it and don’t see it as a job at all. It is a pleasure to be part of it and working with Potters Theatre Company is really inspiring as the shows move forward all the time and every production gets bigger.
What do you play?
Bass guitar and I sing backing vocals. I also do song-writing outside of Potters.
When did you first start playing bass?
I have always been into music and started bass when I was eight. My first school performance was a year later and by the age of 12 I was full-on obsessed with performing and playing! My kids are growing up too fast and are 15 and 10, and they love music too.
How many bass guitars do you own?
I have a few at Potters and at least 10 at home.
Who do you work closely with at Potters?
Stuart, Neil and Graham in the band. We also work with Big Bands when they are in and I love performing with Roxy, Aaron and Michelle and all our late night singers in the Terrace Bar. I also perform on the Family Green during the summer breaks and we have such an incredibly talented and friendly team here at Potters. When there is a new show we are involved in a lot of rehearsals and I work closely with Nicky Hathway and Laura Hodges.
Can you tell us about your background?
I played bass in church at the age of 12 and played my first gig aged 14. I then started playing local jazz gigs and became a professional bass player after finishing music college in 1999. At 18 I joined the Lee Vasey Band and was with them for four years before becoming the bass player for the ‘Chance band’. In the band I got to perform at some of the biggest parties in the world, including the Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday party and David and Victoria Beckham’s Wedding. Since then I have recorded for EMI, SONY, V2 & Relentless Records, and worked alongside Gene Simmons from Kiss on the production team for the MTV show ‘Rock School’. I’ve toured the world as bass player for Il Divo, Gloria Gaynor, for 11 years, and many other artists, as well as in the West End.
I’m still really passionate about music and recently studied jazz improvisation and harmony under five time Grammy winner Gary Burton, and I studied The Art of Mixing with Alejandro Rodriguez.
Thanks Jimmi. Anyone who has heard our amazing band performing live will know what a talented bunch they are.
Not sure what bass guitar is? It is a powerful instrument that brings the other instruments together. The primary function of a bass guitar is to maintain a steady rhythm, and even though it is a guitar, the bassist works closer to the drummer than the guitarist. This is because the bass, just like the drums, establishes the rhythm of a song and keeps it going, while the guitar and other instruments are typically in charge of the harmony. It is built on the style of an electric guitar but produces lower frequencies.