||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
|Born||15 December 1961|
|Origin||Winslow, Buckinghamshire, England|
|Genres||Progressive rock, art rock, hard rock, Celtic rock, new wave, pop rock, synthpop|
|Occupation(s)||Sound engineer, songwriter, musician|
|Instruments||Bass, Chapman Stick, Vocals|
|Associated acts||Art Nouveau, Ellis, Beggs, & Howard, Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, Iona, Kajagoogoo, Rockets, The Pineapple Thief|
Nick Beggs (born Nicholas Leighton Beggs, 15 December 1961, 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.
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.
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 1978 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.
After firing lead singer Limahl and, following a split with Strode, the three remaining band members reformed as 'Kaja'.
Between 1985 and 1987, Beggs concentrated on writing with various other songwriters and finally formed Ellis, Beggs, & Howard in March 1987. Ellis, Beggs and Howard split in 1989, and in 1990 Beggs joined the progressive folk band, Iona. 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. 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, Nik Kershaw, Polysics, Rick Wakeman, 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.
As of 2015, Beggs is a member of Steven Wilson's touring band, having also played in Wilson's albums, Grace For Drowning, The Raven That Refused to Sing and Hand. Cannot. Erase.. He also became a member of the band Fish On Friday from Belgium, who released an album named Godspeed at the end of 2014. He also contributed to John Mitchell's solo project Lonely Robot which was released in February 2015.
Beggs' primary instruments are Chapman Stick and bass guitar. 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 pick-up 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-capable 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. On tour with Steve Hackett Beggs also showed that he is a fine guitar player if the need arises.
Ellis, Beggs and Howard
- "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
- 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 – Esoteric Antenna – 2013
- Stick Insect, 2002 CD Stick Enterprises
- The Maverick Helmsman, 2004 CD Stick Enterprises
With other artists
With Steve Hackett
- Out of the Tunnel's Mouth, 2009
- Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, 2011
- Live Rails, 2011
- Genesis Revisited II, 2012
With Steven Wilson
- Grace For Drowning, 2011
- Catalog / Preserve / Amass (live), 2012
- Get All You Deserve (live), 2012
- The Raven that Refused to Sing, 2013
- Drive Home, 2013
- Hand. Cannot. Erase., 2015
- Please Come Home, 2015
- Larkin, Colin (1997) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0159-7, p. 270-271
- Burnett, Bryan (1998) "Nick's Knack for Finding Success", Evening Times, 7 December 1988, p. 17, retrieved 2 July 2011
- Christman, Ed (1999) "Zeppelin's Jones Makes Solo Return", Billboard, 14 August 1999, p. 12, 15, retrieved 2 July 2011
- "Kajagoogoo announce British tour", BBC, 14 May 2009, retrieved 2 July 2011
- "Steven Wilson ‘Grace for Drowning’ 2011 Official Dates!", 8 July 2011, retrieved 22 September 2011
- Nick Beggs Official Website
- KajaGooGoo Official Website
- Official MySpace
- KajaFax – The KajaGooGoo Fan Community
- Facebook page for Lifesigns
- In-depth 2015 interview on Innerviews