Nick Beggs

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Nick Beggs
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Background information
Born (1961-12-15) 15 December 1961 (age 52)
Origin Winslow, Buckinghamshire, England
Occupations Sound engineer, songwriter, musician
Years active 1979–present
Associated acts Art Nouveau, Ellis, Beggs, & Howard, Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, Iona, Kajagoogoo, Rockets, The Pineapple Thief
Notable instruments
Bass guitar and Chapman Stick

Nick Beggs (born Nicholas Leighton Beggs, 15 December 1961,[1] Winslow, Buckinghamshire) is an English musician, noted for playing the bass guitar and the Chapman Stick; he is a member of Kajagoogoo and formerly Iona and Ellis, Beggs, & Howard.

Personal life[edit]

His parents were Herby and Joan Beggs, and he has a younger sister, Jacqueline. Nick's father left when he was young but came back into his life at a later age. In November 1979, Beggs' mother died of cancer, leaving him to care for his sister, who was then 15. He took a job as a dustman upon leaving school.

Nick's daughter Lula was born 29 May 1991, and his first marriage ended in 1994 with Eleni Gagoushi. He had another daughter, Willow Beggs, in 2002 by his girlfriend Ann Staniford, whom he married in 2003. He is now also stepfather to Ann's children Olivia, Jake and Callum Keenan. Nick currently lives in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Career[edit]

Beggs' first band Johnny and the Martians (formed when he was 10) consisted of two friends on trumpet and acoustic guitar and Beggs on drums. He went to Linslade Secondary School. After attending art school, in 1979 Beggs formed the band Art Nouveau, with Steve Askew, Stuart Croxford Neale and Jez Strode. Chris Hamill (Limahl) joined the band in 1981 and at Beggs' suggestion it was renamed Kajagoogoo. The release of the first single, "Too Shy", in January 1983 saw the band on a promotional tour as the record reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

After firing lead singer Limahl and, following a split with Strode, the three remaining band members reformed as 'Kaja'.[1]

Between 1985 and 1987, Beggs concentrated on writing with various other songwriters and finally formed Ellis, Beggs, & Howard in March 1987.[2] Ellis, Beggs and Howard split in 1989, and in 1990 Beggs joined the progressive folk band, Iona.[1] He recorded two albums with them, The Book of Kells and Beyond These Shores.

He continued working with various artists and bands including Alphaville, Belinda Carlisle, Emma Bunton (on her album Life In Mono) and Led Zeppelin’s former bass player, John Paul Jones.[3] In 1996, Beggs met Howard Jones on a flight from the United States and a friendship was established. Jones invited Beggs to tour as part of his band. Beggs has also worked with bands and artists such as ABC, Alphaville, Belinda Carlisle, Celtus, China Crisis, Cliff Richard, Cozi, Curiosity Killed The Cat, D:Ream, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gary Numan, Go West, Howard Jones, Iona, Keke, Kim Wilde, Maddy Prior, Mark Shaw, Michael Bolton, Midge Ure, Nena, Nick Heyward, Polysics, Rick Waller, Right Said Fred, Naked Eyes, Seal, Stefano Ianne, Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, T'Pau, Terl Bryant, Then Jerico, There She Was, Tina Turner, Tom McRae, Tony Hadley, Toyah Willcox, Troy Donockley and Warren Cuccurullo.

Beggs went on to work as an A&R manager for Phonogram Records, became a contributor to various guitar publications, and is now a staff writer for Bass Guitar magazine. He is also a Patron of London based guitar and bass school, Guitar-X.

He has recorded and released two solo albums: Stick Insect (2002) and The Maverick Helmsman (2004).

Beggs and Askew have been heavily involved with a new duo called Industrial Salt, who have been successful in Japan. They have also written material for Claudia Mills, a finalist on the BBC TV talent show, Let Me Entertain You.

A reformed Kajagoogoo with Beggs, Askew and Croxford Neale toured in 2004. Since then Limahl and Strode have both rejoined and the band has toured extensively over Europe in 2008 and 2009.[4]

In February 2013, Beggs project, Lifesigns, with John Young and Frosty Beedle, was released.

As of 2013, Beggs is a member of Steven Wilson's touring band,[5] having also played in Wilson's albums, Grace For Drowning and The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories).

Instruments[edit]

Beggs' primary instruments are Chapman Stick and bass guitar.[3] His bass guitars include a Spector Coda 5 String, a Spector Euro 4 LX, Tanglewood acoustic bass and a Fender Jazz fretless, a prototype Ashbory bass, a five-string Wal bass (modified by Beggs to include a midi pickup enabling him to trigger synths), an Aria SB, a Kramer, a Music Man Stingray, and a Rickenbacker 4003 FG. He has also significantly modified a Chapman Stick to a fully midi able instrument triggering midi from both bass and melody strings. He has named this the "Virtual Stick". He uses a TC Electronic RH450 bass amp with RS210 and RS212 cabinets and Rotosound strings.

Discography[edit]

Ellis, Beggs & Howard[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Big Bubbles No Troubles" - RCA PB 42089 - June 88 - # 59 UK
  • "Bad Times" - RCA PB 42041 - August 88
  • "Where Did Tomorrow Go?" - RCA PB42317 - November 1988
  • "Big Bubbles No Troubles" remix - RCA PB 42089 - February 89 - # 41 UK
  • "Big Bubbles No Troubles" remix - RCA PB 42788 - April 1989

Albums[edit]

  • Homelands - RCA - 1988
  • The Lost Years Volume One - available from Nick Beggs website
  • The Lost Years Volume Two - again, available from Nick Beggs website as of February 2010

Lifesigns[edit]

  • Lifesigns - Esoteric Antenna - 2013

Solo[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Stick Insect, 2002 CD Stick Enterprises
  • The Maverick Helmsman, 2004 CD Stick Enterprises

With other artists[edit]

With Steve Hackett

With Steven Wilson

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Larkin, Colin (1997) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0159-7, p. 270-271
  2. ^ Burnett, Bryan (1998) "Nick's Knack for Finding Success", Evening Times, 7 December 1988, p. 17, retrieved 2011-07-02
  3. ^ a b Christman, Ed (1999) "Zeppelin's Jones Makes Solo Return", Billboard, 14 August 1999, p. 12, 15, retrieved 2011-07-02
  4. ^ "Kajagoogoo announce British tour", BBC, 14 May 2009, retrieved 2011-07-02
  5. ^ "Steven Wilson ‘Grace for Drowning’ 2011 Official Dates!", 8 July 2011, retrieved 2011-09-22

External links[edit]