Leeds based Singer / Songwriter Simon Bristoll (AKA Captain Wilberforce),
I’ve been writing songs since I was 11, after falling in love with my parents’ 1960’s singles collection, discovered one rainy afternoon in a faded suitcase in the attic. It also contained the well-worn vinyl of assorted Beatles albums, which I immediately set about learning by heart, picking out the chords on a Kay catalogue guitar.
A love affair with classic songwriters followed; Difford and Tilbrook, Joe Jackson, Robert Smith, Morrissey / Marr, Robert Pollard, Mould / Hart, Paul Westerberg, Sufjian Stevens and Elliott Smith were on heavy rotation on my mini-hifi system.
Between 1995 and 2003 I played guitar and sang BVs, as well as taking ¼ of the song-writing duties in Theory of Everything – Based in Birmingham, we were looked after by a succession of heavyweight industry managers without ever signing the record label paperwork that might have helped bring more attention to our well-reviewed debut (and final) album “The Failure of Arithmetic”.
Leaving the band in 2003, I continued writing songs under the “Captain Wilberforce” alias, taking on not only lead vocal duties, but all instrumentation bar drums. The response to my self-released “Dreams of Educated Fleas” Demo was massively encouraging and the critical reception has only intensified with each album. Which was nice.
Since the release of debut album Mindfilming in 2004, Captain Wilberforce have garnered plaudits from friends of the band like Huey Morgan and Tom Robinson of BBC 6 music and Dermot O’Leary, who invited the self-managed, self-released and self-promoted band to record a prestigious Saturday Session following the launch of the “Ghost Written Confessions” album in 2011.
My songs have been used in various TV programmes on HBO, ITV and the Fashion Channel and a quick google of ‘Captain Wilberforce’ on YouTube finds hundreds of videos sound-tracked by the band’s songs.
I’ve called on the services of a host of local musician friends to play the songs live, with a highlight being a performance on the main stage at the Galtres Parklands festival in August 2013. The current line up is: Me (Vocals / Guitars), Carl Banks (Drums), Mike Browne (Guitar), Chris Newiss (Bass). We are currently recording songs for a new EP that will, with any luck and a prevailing wind, be released in June 2015.