Illegal Regals: When Creativity Meets Function
Meet The Illegal Regals, the melodic rock band with punk influence who formed during the Queen's Silver Jubilee. While finding time for both original music and covers, this band has some great advice for new artists who want to earn money doing what they love. They put together a special vlog of their interview questions, so make sure to give it a watch. Also, you can read on below to learn more about them, as well as their advice about why doing function music has been helpful towards launching a music career.
How did you all meet and how long have you been together?
We met quite a while ago now, in 2004. We did a local open mic night, and then in 2011 we officially formed and had our first gig at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Following that, who are you influenced most by?
In regards to style, we do covers as well as originals. It’s more a case of style as opposed to who we're influenced by. We do tend to play our own compositions with quite a bit of melodies in them.
George (lead guitarist and singer): Being that I’m the oldest here. My influences go way back. When I was a teenager I was into Hendrix, and rock music, obviously The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and all that kind of stuff. But I could listen to anything be it Beethoven, or punk and I can appreciate all kinds of music in my own way. My influences come from many different things, really.
Dave (bassist): I started music after school really, in Sixth Form College. I was into Foo Fighters and heavier rock. I’ve been in a few bands before this one and all of them were really heavy.
Phil (drummer): My influences are the same as George’s. Deep Purple and Led Zepplin and punk rock. I also like to go right back to 50’s rock n' roll.
You do both original work and covers. What advice would you give to bands aspiring to do the same?
Well, the first thing to say is put a lot of work into it. Just enjoy the moment and enjoy what you’re doing. With practice you’ll get somewhere. Don’t worry about criticisms just do your own thing. If you want to do it, you will.
What would you say is the most valuable asset you’ve gained from switching between original and function work?
In the first place, you get paid for function stuff. When you’re doing original stuff it’s hard because guys like us - we all got jobs, we’ve all got to work and pay our bills and doing cover songs helps in that regard. When you do original stuff, a lot of venues expect you to pay for free, so consequently - if you’re doing original stuff, people don’t know it so you have a bit of give and take. We enjoy playing mainly, but also because we can get pennies for our beers. We also throw some of our original stuff in with the cover stuff. People don’t notice and often they ask who the music is by!
If you’re going to write original stuff, write it as if it’s a cover. The same kind of chord progression, if you mix it in at the right time, no one will know the difference. It needs to have a sparkle!
You learn a lot from doing cover songs, you learn a lot about music doing cover songs, and if people are not interested in something they don’t know unless it’s really good. So you have to mix the two for certain.
What advice would you give to musicians aspiring to be in a function band?
Go with the flow, and also if you’re in a creative band still work on your original stuff. Also, it depends how long you’ve been going. If you’re doing a function, you’ve got to know what people want, and learn what your setlists should look like.
What is your favorite type of event to play at?
The best type of event to play at is one where you’re playing really well - it could be a pub, if could be a wedding do, it can be a party, and the people enjoy listening to us, they are dancing. And when you’re getting off on it, the audience and band it’s the best thing - no matter where it is. It can be somebody’s house or an amazing venue.
In Buxton, they have a carnival and we’ve played on the back of a float. It's certainly hard to do, but really fun.
George: Personally, I have played in front of up to 20,000 to 30,000 people, myself - many years ago. And that was a buzz - I played one song, Johnny B Good. I went crazy, the crowd went crazy and then I went off stage.
Your band name is great! How did you come up with it?
It goes back to when we did one of first gigs for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and obviously being the Queen’s Jubilee it was a "regal moment." So we thought we’d be The Regals. At the time I got some fancy dress and dressed up as King George and because I wasn’t a proper regal, I realized I was an illegal regal. And that’s how we thought up the name.
Finish this sentence: A great gig...
...is having a blast. Having everybody enjoy it and that’s it!
Tell us a fun fact about your band.
We’ve got a band mascot. Not many people know it - only superfans. Additionally we as a band just really authentically enjoy playing together.