Press releases and coverage

News: Newhaven duo Dandelion Charm release brand new EP with launch gig at The Brunswick, Hove

Venue: The Brunswick, 1 Holland Rd, Hove BN3 1JF

Date: 11 February 2018, 7pm

Riding The Flood is a new five-track EP from Newhaven-based duo Dandelion Charm. John and Clare Fowler combine prog, folk and rock influences into a luxurious blend of intricate harmonies, soaring melodies, superb musicianship and heartfelt lyrics. Imagine Fleetwood Mac meets Opeth and CSN meets Yes.

The EP is released on 11th February and will be formally launched with a special gig that evening. Dandelion Charm will be performing songs from the EP with a full band at the Brunswick, Hove’s premier music and arts venue. Tickets (£8 advance/£10 door) available via

Very much a personal as well as a creative partnership, Dandelion Charm have been memorably described as ‘like Fleetwood Mac without the drama’. As one reviewer has noted, however, all the drama is to be found in the songs themselves.

Clare Fowler: “The themes we deal with in our songs are not frivolous ones. They are all about aspects of real life, things that we’ve seen or been part of. Fear and self-doubt, optimism and determination, family, relationships and addiction are some of the emotions and situations we explore on Riding The Flood.”

“I just can’t find the words to express how excited John and I are about this launch gig,“ Clare added. “We’ve been rehearsing with some incredible musicians to bring to life John’s epic production.”

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With a background working in a commercial studio, John brings over twenty years of song-writing and production experience to Dandelion Charm. Clare, meanwhile, is a long-time visual artist and performer and her love of storytelling manifests itself in her heartfelt lyrics and emotive delivery. There are three key elements to Dandelion Charm, however: John, Clare and ‘Olah’. The latter being John’s custom-built jumbo twelve-string guitar which is central to both the songwriting process and the duo’s live performances.

John Fowler: “We crowd-funded for Olah and I ended up with this amazing beautiful-looking instrument. With Dandelion Charm it’s the first time I’ve made music where I’m not trying to please anyone but it’s hugely rewarding seeing others who love what we’re about.”


What people are saying about Dandelion Charm:

“Dandelion Charm have the songs and talent to appeal to not only prog and folk fans, but anyone who enjoys strong songwriting with blissful vocals and melodies.” – Jason Ritchie (Get Ready To Rock)

“…the fullness of the music, the beautiful harmonies, the sheer musicianship that one moment floats out of the car hi-fi then suddenly becomes a blast of power” FATEA

“Dandelion Charm…clearly destined for greatness” – Chris Giles (Folk Is Not A Rude Word)

“Packed with beautiful harmonies and emotional, heartfelt lyrics. Like Fleetwood Mac, they play, sing and write music with classic, soaring pop melodies that will also appeal to the serious muso.” – ROSS SIMPSON (Director – First Act Workshops)

“Bloody brilliant night at The Old Oak…Dandelion Charm – just, WOW!” – Jimbo Tipler (Folk at The Old Oak)

Media and guest-list enquiries to: Darren Johnson 07799 731 682


News: Thunderstick – famous masked drummer unveils his new vocalist Viixen

The ex-Iron Maiden/Samson drummer is hitting the road throughout 2018. Viixen completes the band’s new touring lineup.

With several 2018 UK festival appearances announced already and more dates planned, Thunderstick creator and NWOBHM drumming icon, Barry Graham Purkis, has revealed his new-look live touring band. Viixen is the rock ‘n’ roll wildchild vocalist who will be fronting up the new version of Thunderstick and sparring with the crazed, masked drummer.

The band will be playing material from the recent highly-acclaimed ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ album, as well as from the earlier ‘Echoes From The Analogue Asylum’ album. There will be something special, too. By way of a tribute to the band that the drummer was such a big part, the set will also include some classics from the Samson era.

Thunderstick aka Barry Graham Purkis comments: “To describe the live lineup of Thunderstick as ‘explosive’ would be an understatement to say the least. We are calling the live gigs The ‘Tectonic Plates Dates’. After the phenomenal reaction last year’s album has had from both our fans and reviewers alike this year will see an all-new lineup of Thunderstick taking to the stage. It has been spectacular letting Viixen take on the mighty vocal melodies of Bruce Dickinson playing the Samson material. Headline gigs are being put together for this year, both in the UK and Europe, as well as festival appearances at A New Day Festival, Hard Rock Hell and Mearfest. We will keep everyone posted as the dates are added.”

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Viixen herself adds: “This band is so right for me! Energy, power, theatrics and outrage are all extremities of my personality. This band allows total expression of those personalities…… I am rock roller coaster…… I am a women of paradox – with outfits to match!”

Also new to the band is guitarist, Baz Roze. Playing in popular gigging bands since the early nineties in bands such as Final Sunset, Black Rain and Black Roze, Baz adds: “When I was younger I remember recording Samson on the Friday rock show. ‘Riding With The Angels’ has always been on my playlist ever since then – and now I’m playing with Thunderstick. Crazy how things work out!”

The full Thunderstick lineup is:
Vocals – Viixen
Guitar – Dave ‘Kandy’ Kilford
Guitar – Baz Roze
Bass – Rex Thunderbolt
Drums – Thunderstick

‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, the first new Thunderstick album in over thirty years, was released in July 2017 and has been attracting enthusiastic reviews from all over the world:

“the band vacillate between the hard-hitting glam rock of late-era Sweet and the crunchy riffola of NWOBHM” – Classic Rock magazine

“an absolute cracker of a comeback album 9/10″ – Bravewords

“like opening a doorway back to when rock and metal was at its newest and most raw” – The Moshville Times

First noticed playing with a developing Iron Maiden in the seventies then moving to Samson (being instrumental in finding a very youthful Bruce Dickinson) Barry Graham Purkis became the figurehead of the newly emerging NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) scene. This was done by creating an alter ego Thunderstick, a masked persona known not only for his wild style of playing drums but doing so from inside a cage and playfully terrorizing audiences. He went on to form his own highly theatrical band in the eighties. Fronted by a female rock ’n’ roll wildchild (something comparatively new for its time) Thunderstick the band was a perfect ‘Beauty and the Beast’ combination, playing live and recording for six years until it folded in 1987.

The CD album ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ is available for purchase via via and in download format via Bandcamp

All media enquiries to: Darren Johnson (+44) 7799 731 682


Dandelion Charm ‘Riding The Flood’ EP – reviews and news round-up

Some nice reviews for ‘Riding The Flood’ the forthcoming Dandelion Charm EP released on 11th February 2018:

“Lyrically very strong, the duo blends together high emotion with lavish melodies that are full of delicacy and power”
FATEA – read full review here

“These are songs of loss and quiet desperation: the brilliance of Dandelion Charm lies in making fist-pumping anthems in a minor-key.”
Prog Magazine – read full review here

“They combine prog, folk and rock influences into an entertaining and enthralling mix. Dandelion Charm have the songs and talent to appeal to not only prog and folk fans, but anyone who enjoys strong songwriting with blissful vocals and melodies.”
Get Ready To Rock – read full review here

“Riding The Flood is an excellent album, very melodic but also quite dynamic at times. With great singing and great song writing it’s an album that gets my highest recommendation indeed.”
Proggnosis – read full review here

“A new 5 track EP out next year from talented musicians who aren’t content to be a generic band, Dandelion Charm look set for big things”
RoxRocknMetal – read full review here

“Sharing the vocals, the couple compliment each other quite stunningly on the pensive meander of Wraith”
Sea of Tranquility – read full review here

“I think I have fallen in love with Clare’s vocal and John and Clare’s harmonies are angelic. Please check out their other music on the links below. They are superb”
Artist Profile at Pete’s Rock News & Views here

Also check out the interview with Dandelion Charm at Traxx24 here 


Five inspiring projects I worked on in 2017

In a busy year here I talk about some of the most inspiring projects I worked on in 2017.

Bernie Tormé – album launch ‘Dublin Cowboy’

When Gillan guitar legend, Bernie Tormé, announced plans for a pledge-funded triple album last Autumn it reached 100% of its target in just 8 hours and forty-five minutes. Working on the initial announcement and the subsequent album and tour publicity was genuinely inspiring and it has been great to see how many excellent reviews ‘Dublin Cowboy’ has been picking up this year. Read the full story here

Dublin Cowboy cover

Setsuko Thurlow – Hiroshima survivor’s London speaking tour.

A survivor of one of the most pivotal events in modern history, Setsuko Thurlow has displayed enormous courage and leadership throughout her long life, sharing her atomic bomb experiences in order to inform people about the real consequences of nuclear war. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year it was a genuine honour working to provide PR support for Setsuko on her UK visit. See her harrowing but passionate interview with LBC here

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League Against Cruel Sports and Vinny The Fox – 2017 General Election campaign

Taking on a temporary contract as interim Head of Campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports, within days of starting Theresa May had called a snap general election and I found myself organising a national bus tour in support of retaining the hunting ban. In what turned out to be a disastrous campaign for Theresa May hunting ended up being one of the most talked about issues of the entire General Election and after failing to get a majority Theresa May was forced to abandon plans to repeal the hunting act. Here’s what the Sun had to say about the way her support for fox hunting lost Theresa May her majority


Thunderstick – album launch ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’

Three decades on from the original Thunderstick, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal icon, Barry Graham Purkis, resurrected his Thunderstick alter ego and released a brand new album. Handling the PR for this was a real buzz, especially as it rapidly began picking up very favourable reviews from around the world including the UK’s Classic Rock magazine and many others. Promising a return to live gigging in 2018 it’s been great to see the return of this rock icon. Catch links to some of the album reviews here

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SpeakUpCIC – Event at Margate’s iconic Turner Contemporary to mark World Metal Health Day

A hugely important issue and a great day out it was a real pleasure to work on the publicity for SpeakUpCIC’s World Mental Health Day event. Over 80 participants and over a dozen performers took part in Listen Up, a poetry, music and art event held at the Turner Contemporary back in October. The staff on reception said they had more visitors through the door for the poetry event that day than for Tracey Emin’s unmade bed. Happy to take that as a recommendation! Read the write up in Kent Online here

Listen Up Oct 2017

Here’s to 2018 and lots more exciting projects to work on.

News: ‘Overrun’ – virtuoso rock guitarist Cris Martin to release new single and video

Single/video release date: December 15th 2017

‘Overrun’ is the new single from Cris Martin – a stunning slice of instrumental classic guitar rock from the virtuoso musician.

Cris Martin received critical acclaim for his 2016 solo album ‘Rock Dawn’, which featured former Iron Maiden front-man Blaze Bayley and former Samson drummer Barry Graham Purkis (Thunderstick). The single ‘Overrun’ is drawn from the album and a brand new accompanying video is also being launched on December 15th to coincide with the release.

“What Cris Martin does comes straight from the heart and soul, with the emotion flowing through the fingers. He has the ability to compete with any of the flash, hard riding guitar heroes who litter the world.” – Malcolm Dome

Talking about the new single, Cris Martin comments: “Overrun originated back in 2013 when I was thinking about recording again after many years out of a recording studio. I was using a small studio in Streatham and as the studio sessions progressed the track seemed to take on its own character. I wanted the music to evolve rather than conform to fashion or any particular style or genre. This is one benefit of making independent music, one can express oneself freely. I wanted a bluesy, rock feel coupled with a smattering of virtuosity which I think we achieved. Being an instrumental track, the lead guitar line has to be as strong as a lead vocal line. The title came from an incident at the studio where myself and the engineer had popped out to go to the shops. As we were crossing the busy main road, a fast Mercedes sped past almost hitting us and it was the result of almost being run over which gave me the idea of swapping round the words around to Overrun!

“This track also has a more poignant story behind it as I was helping to care for my elderly mother whose health was failing and the recording sessions helped with the stresses and strains of being a carer. Unfortunately she passed away and I was unable to continue with the sessions for a while in order to deal with my bereavement. However, after several months, I felt able to finish off the album. I am a great believer that creating music can be a great healer. This track, especially, definitely helped with my recovery.”

The video was filmed at Black Cat studios in Leicestershire owned by James Scott who also mixed the Rock Dawn album.

Talking about the making of the video, Cris adds: “I roped in some colleagues to appear as the ‘backing band’. I wanted the video to have a humorous element so we came up with the story-line of a hipster engineer and his self-obsessed millennial vocalist recording in a studio, and their comical conversion to metal-heads.”

Cris Martin

About Cris Martin

Cris Martin started playing the guitar aged 16 and found that he had a talent for playing fast in a similar style to his guitar hero, Gary Moore. After several years playing cheap, hard-to-play guitars, Cris fortuitously won a sum of money and purchased his first Gibson Les Paul guitar and a classic Marshall amp. Aged 21, Cris joined his first pro band Thunderstick and recorded two well-received albums and an EP. After Thunderstick, Cris did session work and then spent several years in various bands recording, writing and gigging. In 1997, disillusioned with the music business, Cris stopped playing and sold all his guitars intending never to play again.

In 2008 after many years of friends telling him he shouldn’t have put aside his guitar talent, Cris purchased a guitar curious to see if he could still “shred”. However, he was in for a nasty surprise as he realised he would have to learn to play all over again in order to regain his once formidable technical mastery. He briefly joined a rock covers band but needed to be able to compose his own material and began working on a solo album. ‘Rock Dawn’ was released in 2016 and featured former Iron Maiden member Blaze Bayley who contributed vocals to three of the tracks.

The single and album are available via the website at