I recently had the opportunity to photograph some musician friends of mine. My wife Trish and I have been following the band “Tres Hombres” for around five years now after reconnecting with one of their number, Rob Bennett who we both knew from our school days. In fact I had started infants school with Rob so our friendship goes back more years than I care to remember.
There are currently four members of the band and I suppose you could call them ageing rockers. Their sets consist mainly of Rock and Rhythmn and Blues numbers, covers of wells known tracks from the sixties, seventies and eighties by ZZ Top, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Motley Crue, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Edmunds to name a few.
Like many bands, they play for the love it, the love of entertaining and playing together and they can be seen playing in pubs around South Wales most Friday nights. The pub music scene is thriving in Cardiff and the valleys and being able to listen to talented musicians perform whilst enjoying a social drink does seem to be popular with the public, both young and not so young.
Their talent never ceases to amaze me, the ability to simply pick up an instrument and play together with no rehearsal time is incredible and leaves me feeling envious of their talents as it’s something I’d always longed to do but never really had the talent or understanding of music to allow me to take it up. That doesn’t stop me loving my music though and we always look forward to the nights when we listen to them play, usually at The Butchers Arms, Rhiwbina or The Albion, Penarth.
The current line up consists of four mainly sixty somethings all of whom have been playing since their early teens and who are accomplished musicians. They are:
Andy Berry, band founder member, lead singer, lead guitarist, song writer and former art teacher. Andy has played on his own and with others for many many years around South Wales and has written and recorded his own music as well. Back in 1982 he had a song " Don't Cry For The Innocent" by his band Iona at number two in the Heavy Metal Charts.
John Morris, lead guitarist and former professional musician. John was a member of local band Hobo back in the seventies who recorded at the famous Rockfield Studios, Monmouth as well as performing around The UK and Europe supporting various bands including Wishbone Ash. John continues to write and record his own music.
Rob Bennett is a cracking base guitarist and has been playing since his teens. He is also the joker of the group with a repertoire of terrible jokes.
Wayne Evans, drummer, is the newest member of the band and as well as playing rock he is also loves and performs big band and swing music.
Together they form “Tres Hombres” a name that makes them sound more like a Mexican Mariachi Band. They are constantly asked why "Tres Hombres" when there are four of them? In fact there used to be five of them but the name is taken from ZZ Tops third album of the same name released in 1973.
It’s not just their ability as musicians that amaze me but their commitment to the cause of providing live entertainment. Not for them the roadies and crews that big name bands might use to erect and take down their sets. These guys do it all themselves from transporting their gear in the backs of their cars and vans, carrying the kit into the venue and setting up on stage as well. Stage is a slight exaggeration as mostly it’s just a cramped corner of the bar that forms their stage. Sound checks are all done by the band and of course at the end of the night they do the same thing in reverse to get their kit home. They deserve medals for what they do.
They are not the only band taking on this challenge. Thank goodness there are many willing to rise to the occasion for the love of their music.
You can see "Tres Hombres" next at The Royal Oak in Whitchurch, Cardiff on January 5th 2018 or find them online at:
The gigall site is good for finding music venues, bands and performance dates.
The images were all shot at The Albion in Penarth, South Wales prior to and during their gig there last Friday. As with much location/event photography time and space were limited but I'm pleased with the results.
© 2017 Roger Donovan / Mediaphotos