Having debuted in early February at the ‘Lordie’, rock quartet Jinx is riding the wave of their success by offering their audiences a selection of Seventies’ rock and blues, deliberately performing lesser known tracks from iconic bands like Who, Thin Lizzy, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Status Quo and Rory Gallagher. In fact, their very band was named after his 1982 album of the same name featuring timeless hits like ‘Jinxed’, ‘Ride On Red, Ride On’, and ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’.
“When you say ‘70s’, people automatically cast their minds back to disco, afro hair and flare pants,” they say, “but the 70s brought us so much variety, and we’re here to bring back to life that part of classic rock.”
“When we founded the band two years ago, we sifted through many options for an original catchy name, preferably a single word, and eventually, we settled for this one so that, if the jinx is already in the name, perhaps we won’t end up disbanding,” says co-founder Edward Charles who has been sharing his life with guitars for as long as he can remember, just with a small hiatus for romancing his wife, who is now ‘very supportive’ of having to share him with a notable Stratocaster collection.
Edward started the band with drummer Ollie Blake, 20-year-old university student from San Roque who was introduced to music as a child when he played the trumpet in a marching band. “At every pause in rehearsals, I would approach the drummer and ask for a practice run because I liked playing the drums more than the trumpet, so eventually, I switched to that instrument. I still have my trumpet, but it’s long since I practised so I am not up to a live solo at the moment. “And if I stop drumming to switch to the trumpet, then who is going to keep the beat?”
Ollie is by far the youngest in the band and also the only one who doesn’t sing. “This band has no frontman as such,” Edward explains. “In fact, it has three lead singers! Steve, Andy and I take it in turns on main vocals, depending what song is on the list and whose voice performs it best, or just because one of us really likes that track. We don’t have a main lead guitarist either: Steve and I alternate between lead and rhythm and on many tracks play twin lead guitar, while Andy supports us with bass and backing vocals.”
Bassist Andy Arendell, a compliance manager for a local bank by day, is the most experienced musician of the group, having been playing since he was fifteen. He played in many bands in the UK before relocating to Gibraltar five years ago where he met and married a Gibraltarian woman. Andy has played in many local bands on the Gibraltar music scene over the last few years.
Air traffic engineer Steve Bees can flaunt a loyal love affair with music, commencing in his school days when those very songs he now revives on stage were setting the foundations of his passion for guitar in his first band. A former RAF electronics technician, he’s travelled extensively before landing a civilian job in Gibraltar where he hopes to settle for good and keep on rocking. “My family and I have found a home in Gibraltar now, and it is refreshing to know there is no expiry date on my contribution to Jinx, just because of me having to move along to the next post. Sally, my wife of 22 years supports my rock star pretences by attending my concerts first row and I always make time to help her with her handicrafts stall of quilts.”
Steve played for other local bands before joining Jinx, but this is where he’s best acknowledged as a seasoned musician, given room to steal the spotlight from time to time with his vocal solos, and where he feels he meshes creatively with his peers, so that rehearsals are no longer the means to an end (the concert), but concerts in their own right, very exclusive concerts for the band’s ears only.
Although the band has only been together since December, they already feel there is that special band chemistry between them. In the not too distant future, they will be beginning to write their own material, utilising the ‘twin guitar attack’ of Edward and Steve. “It is said that a band can never be fully repaid for a live performance: a band gets paid for rehearsal time, instruments’ maintenance, commuting, loading, unloading and whatever other preparatory work required off stage, but once they step on stage in front of an audience, any audience, whether an intimate acoustic gig or larger venues, their work is payable only with the sense of self-accomplishment that comes from watching the floor being set ablaze by their sound.”
So far, Jinx has made Lord Nelson’s pub in Casemates its official home in Gibraltar, with a string of gigs in the pipeline over the coming months, but they hope to expand to other venues when summer comes and patrons will enjoy their drinks al fresco, with the notes of their bedrock anthems filling the air from balmy twilight to glowing moonlight.
When the Rock is no longer enough, Ed has a big dream in store: their own sleeper bus to tour the world! He’s got it all laid out in his mind, with giant logo on the flanks and funky interior decorating, and it will be no chore driving it during the day from venue to venue to play gigs in a different city every night – and with him being an engine wizard, the band will never risk to miss a show due to breakdown in the middle of nowhere!
Ed nurses the ambition of becoming a full-time musician one day, and making his fantasy a steady lifestyle, but his band mates are more cautious, as Steve says: “When music becomes your livelihood, you must be prepared to compromise somehow, while now we’re free to play according to our personal style, without the downsides of the job.”
The band logo is mysterious indeed, with its acid green background and the twin Stratocasters behind a button-eyed voodoo doll in a top hat: check it out in their Facebook page, where you’ll also find information about their forthcoming gigs.
words | Elena Scialtiel