The Basement is a rock band that has taken the Algarve by storm with their fantastic performances which are full of energy and incredible guitar solos which raise money for charity.
The band members are: Del, the lead vocalist and guitar player, Alan, on the bass guitar and vocals, Gary on drums and Johnny AK on guitar.
I had the pleasure of seeing their great performance at A Quinta Garden Café in Silves on Sunday, 23 January, with sound provided by Kaleidosonic Sound & Lighting and spoke with the feel-good band.
This particular event was to raise money for Ellie Diamond and Amigos dos Gatos due to a home fire and they also presented an incredible €3,000 to Madrugada association which they had collected from performances over the last couple of months in which Henrica Vanderaa, Madrugada’ s Senior Operations Supervisor was thrilled to receive on behalf of the association.
They played with their own spin a varied repertoire of big hits and crowd pleasers, including classics like “Sweet Home Alabama”, “Born to be Wild”, “Highway to Hell” and they even threw in a more modern song of “Chasing cars” into the mix. All the members of the band are wonderfully talented, having played in bands before and so in sync with each other that you would have thought they have been going forever, which they humorously added “It does feel like it”.
Dell explained that “Sometimes we make quite a bit of money and sometimes not so much, it is all dependent on the generosity of the crowd. We have been raising money primarily for Madrugada association, who provide palliative care for life limiting illnesses and end of life care and it is all the more poignant really, I have been through it with cancer and my father-in-law is currently under palliative care as well and although I am outside of Madrugada’s jurisdiction really, they have helped me out so it is absolutely superb that we are able to donate to them today.”
Dell was in his own band back in the UK in the Bournemouth and Portsmouth area, “So I was in the Royal Navy at the time, so our band was gigging around there and we never used to have crowds as big as the Basement does”. Alan told me he “has not played live for 30 years but has been on the production side of making music”, adding that “I joined the band as a guitarist and we couldn’t find a bass player so I had to learn the bass and buy a bass.”
Gary played in the Fulham area in the 80s and packed up in 1985 and told me “I didn’t play drums again until I came to Portugal so it has been a massive great hole in my life.” Gary also plays in another great band called the Poor Man’s Band when their drummer is back in Sweden. Johnny AK has been in the music industry since he was 17, having started in a band called Bullets and then he started his own Johnny AK band playing gigs and even touring with The Kinks. He moved to the Algarve 20 years ago and told me “It is my life or has been my life and that is how I came to live in the Algarve, through music and now I can fortunately do what I want.”
Dell, went on to tell me how the band got together “Four years ago I got over cancer of the throat and I was playing in a band and we got together to do gigs for charity and cancer research but when I retired out here in the Algarve, 18 months ago, I went on Facebook to see if I could form a band out here and find like-minded musicians, have fun and do exactly that, raise money for charitable causes.”
“Alan and Gary answered and then we met Johnny AK actually at A Quinta Garden Café, “it was really a coup for us to get him”. Alan then told me that “we have been gigging all over the Algarve properly since October from Alvor to Faro and we must have done about 24 shows and we have just got busier and busier and have now got quite a good following.” Dell affirmed that “What the basement band is all about is raising money for worthy causes and we take nothing for ourselves. When we play a venue all we ask for is a few beers and a bite to eat and we raise money for charities and that it is the people who come to their shows that put money into the hat and enable them to raise a good amount that goes directly to the charity.” He told me it makes it all worth it “we are living the dream out here in the Algarve and we are enjoying making music and making people happy.”
Plans for the future
I asked what are the bands hopes for the future and they told me in chorus “continue what we are doing as we have lots of gigs including private ones planned” and that “Alan and Johnny have their own songs that they have written, so hopefully in the near future we will start doing some of them”.
The Basement have confirmed that they are available for parties and events but “it is all about raising money for charities and all we ask for is that we are fed and watered with beer and that we can raise money for charity”, so please do get in touch if you are interested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep up to date with The Basement and to find out where they are playing next, please see https://www.facebook.com/groups/thebasementband and https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100074099386226. They also have a YouTube channel so you can check out https://bit.ly/thebasementbandyoutube for a taster of what their live performances offer!