Big Boss Man (band)

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Big Boss Man
Origin London, UK
Genres Funk
hammond
latin
Years active 1998–present
Labels Blow Up Records
Website big-boss-man.com
Members Nasser Bouzida
Trevor Harding
Scott Milsom
Nick Nichols

Formation and early years[edit]

Nasser Bouzida, who was brought up in Harlow but formative year were spent in Newbury, Berkshire had a strong love in Latin music. When he was a teenager, Nasser liked composing mini rock-operas in the style of Showaddywaddy. When he was in his early twenties he appeared on the low-budget cableTV show “Jenny Powell’s Hot”, due to him becoming a pioneer of the sports-casual movement. On the set of this show he first met the band Bloodvessel, one of whom was Trevor Harding. A quote from their website describes the pair:

"Bouzida and Harding soon formed an unbreakable bond through their love of the Portsmouth Sea life centre and Roxy Music. After witnessing a life – changing gig by world music surrealists “Bandanna” at the now infamous Bedford Arms, the two formed “Espadrille”."

The story continues:

"Their first big break came when Sea Link offered them a glamorous five show per day three-month contract. (Including two free hot meals per day and unlimited access to the mini-bar) On one particularly choppy entertainment voyage the duo bumped into Coffin Nails’ tattooed psycho dog-man “Mad-Man” Scott Milsom and indie sex-fiend / owner of Europe’s thinnest ears; Nick Nichols.

That ferry journey changed their lives and on that November day in 1998, the band now known as Big Boss Man[1] was formed. The original lineup was and still is Nasser Bouzida a.k.a. “The Bongolian”[2] on organs, percussion and occasional vocals, Scott Milsom on the bass guitar, Trevor Harding on the electric guitar and Nick Nicholls on drums. In the first half of 1999, the band played a gig at the "Blow Up" when it was situated at the Wag club in Soho, London. According to the band's website they were loved by the crowd, which had filled the club to capacity as was normal.

"as usual the club was packed and the crowd absolutely loved the Big Boss Sound. They were then immediately signed up to the club's very own "Blow Up"[3] record label."

Afterwards, the band made their first release, as part of the V2 Blow Up compilation "Blow Up A Go-Go" with the demo version of the track Humanize, (recorded in the band's very own Ramshackle studios). This track was then re-recorded and released as the title track on the band's own debut album.
In 2000, the band appeared in and wrote the soundtrack for the short comedy film "Sweet". This film starred the UK comedy duo The Mighty Boosh (Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding), who were awarded the Perrier Best Newcomers award of Edinburgh Festival. As well as providing the soundtrack, the band are in the film in the club scenes and as extras in the bar scenes.
November 2000 also saw the inclusion of "Xmas BOOGALOO"on the compilation album "It’s A Cool, Cool Christmas".

Sea Groove[edit]

In September 2000, Big Boss Man released their first single, "Sea Groove" (named possibly due to the chance encounter between the four members on a ferry). This was part of Blow Up's new series of 7" records called 'Blow Up 45's'.[4] SELECT magazine gave the single a good review, alongside such artists as Eminem, Coldplay, and Fat Boy Slim. It is said to be an "essential" 45 for the likes of DJs Snowboy, Bob Jones, Gary Crowley, Ross Alan and of course, the Blow Up DJ crew. The release was marked by a show at a Blow Up club event celebrating the opening of the "My Generation" Fashion and Photography Exhibition in Stockholm.

Humanize[edit]

Big Boss Man's debut album, Humanize, featuring the singles Sea Groove, Big Boss Man and Sell Your Soul was released in April 2001. The sound has been described on their website as

"a hip heavy Hammond hybrid of pop, 6T's R'n'B / Latin soul and funk."

It is a very upbeat album and has the distinction of being a mostly instrumental, the only vocals being on the songs Humanize, Big Boss Man, Money and Sell Your Soul. The lyrics that are on the album are short; Big Bos Man, and Sell Your Soul are the only two songs which follow a standard structure of verse/chorus etc., whereas the other two merely have a phrase repeated throughout the song.
In May 2001, "Later" Magazine gave away 100,000 copies of a compilation CD called “The Later Lounge” which featured kitsch classics from the 60's & 70's. Big Boss Man had the honour of being the only contemporary act featured on the CD with their track "Party 7". They were alongside such acts as James Clarke, Grant Green, Herbie Hancock, Paul Nero, and Hugo Montenegro.
In December 2001, the magazine Later released a compilation CD entitled "The later lounge 2", featuring the band's debut single "Sea Groove".
In 2006 'Party 7' was featured in one of a number of advertisements for Nike's FIFA 2006 World Cup advertisement campaign. The advertisement was entitled 'Henry' and featured Thierry Henry and Eric Cantona. Coincidentally, the UK BBC coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final featured 'Party 7'. Blow Up records reissued the 'Humanize' album in 2006, with stickers on the sleeve with reference to the ad.

In 2002, after the release of Humanize, the band decided to tour Europe to promote it. The dates included 3 weeks in Spain, 2 weeks in Germany, then travelling to Moscow (Russia), Venice (Italy) and finishing up with 2 weeks in France including the Le Rock Dans Tousses Etats festival in Evreux where they played to 10,000 people.
Big Boss Man returned from Europe and continued to tour around England and Scotland. They were also asked to rework and remix tracks for Japanese sensation Mansfield for his Golden Hour album, and reworked Ingfried Hoffmann's 60's/70's Euro-cult TV theme Robbi, Tobbi und das Fliewatüüt for an EP released on Germany's Diggler Records.

2003[edit]

Big Boss Man returned to Europe and headlined nights at the Aucard de Tours festival and Cosmic Trip festival. They then had a two-week tour of Spain, took in headline cult festival slots and club gigs, and ended the tour on a high note with a sell-out show at Madrid's Sala Caracol venue.

2004[edit]

Paul Weller released a single called "The Bottle", which Big Boss Man dutifully remixed. Weller's single went straight in to the UK top 20. Two special limited edition versions of this single (vocal and instrumental) were released and it fast became a collectors item. Later the same year, Coca-Cola France requested the band's permission to use their second single "Big Boss Man" for promotional use. As quoted on their official website:

"Access denied!"

In May the band flew to France to play Cosmic Groove parties in Paris and Montpellier and in July, they touched down in Italy to play Festival Beat. Nasser Bouzida then toured Spain with a live revue of his spin-off solo album "The Bongolian" and was asked to guest with such luminaries as Woodstock's Country Joe and the Fish and 60's British mod soul band The Action.

Winner[edit]

Big Boss Man released their second album, Winner, in April 2005. The album had a subtly different feel to the first record, due to its more apparent Latin feel, although the base elements of funk, jazz and soul are all still there, as are the cool sounds of the Hammond organ.No singles were released from the album. However, Kelvin Stardust, the first track of the Winner album, was included on the 'Soulshaker Volume 2' compilation album released by Blow Up Records in July of that year.
To further differentiate from Humanize, the album featured more vocals (although still mostly instrumental) with four songs (Fall In Fall Out, Complicated Lady, Reach Out and Got It So Bad) now sporting full lyrics. Winner also features some French vocals in the song Tu as Gache Mon Talent Ma Cherie - in true Big Boss Man style, the only lyrics are those in the title of the song. This French number was written possibly due to their large fan base in France, where Winner garnered wide radio play.
To promote Winner, Big Boss Man embarked on a 12 date tour of France in the spring. They also returned to Spain for a 16 date Autumn tour, including a second national TV appearance on the Spanish television show "Radio 3". Possibly related to this, at the end of the song Jackson 16, there appears to be a clip from either a Spanish radio or TV show.
Club favourite The Hawk, the 11th track from Winner, was included on “Come On Soul” an international compilation of vintage and contemporary dance floor tracks released by the Legre record label in Hamburg in 2008.

3rd album[edit]

Full English Beat Breakfast, released in September, is by far the band's most ambitious project yet, using more synthesisers than previous. Trevor Harding is still writing good songs as proved with C'est Moi and the very talented drumming makes this a great album.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

2001 Humanize
2005 Winner
2009 Full English Beat Breakfast

Singles[edit]

2000 Sea Groove
2001 Big Boss Man
2002 Sell Your Soul

References[edit]