It’s five years since Warrington born Indie Rock sensation, Viola Beach, were tragically killed in a car accident while travelling together through Sweden. (13th February 2016)
Now, in commemoration of the accident, a community of talented musicians from Warrington have come together to record a cover of Viola Beach’s single ‘Swings And Waterslides’. The track will be released this Friday (12th February 2021)
The project was organised by Lee Harman, Editor of [WAM] Magazine, and was supported by Viola Beach’s former sound engineer Cal Bate. They both wanted to create a suitable tribute to the band and so decided to pull together a band of local musicians who have emerged out of the Viola Beach legacy to record a cover version of ‘Swings And Waterslides’. All proceeds from the single’s success will be donated to charities of the Viola Beach’s families’ choosing.
The accident killed all 4 members of the band along with their manager, Craig Tarry, and sent shockwaves through the music industry. Both fans and musicians alike were saddened by the news, and in particular, the band’s musical peers in their hometown of Warrington were hit especially hard.
Most tragically, at the time of the accident the band had the world at their finger tips - sold out gigs, national airplay, an album in the works and their first European tour dates booked. There could be no doubting that they were in line to be the next big thing. Their potential was recognised by a number of artists and in the wake of the accident world famous acts such as Liam Gallagher and The Stone Roses encouraged people to get the band’s aforementioned debut single ‘Swings And Waterslides’ to Number 1 in the charts, while Coldplay paid tribute to the group by covering one of their songs during their set at Glastonbury Festival in 2016. These acts of commemoration went a long way to keep the band’s legacy and memory alive.
Mr. Harman said of the project: “Viola Beach left their own legacy despite their short time together. They were the first of a new wave of bands who were proud to be from Warrington, and all the artists involved are honoured to be involved.” And added: “…they put Warrington on the map, and we want to show they’re still an important part of the town’s culture.”
Sound Engineer to the band for six months, Cal Bate, echoed Mr. Harman and said: "Viola Beach are a huge part of my life, the big stepping stone to my whole career. So to be able to produce a version of one of their songs with amazing musicians from Warrington meant the world to me” And added “The boys’ legacy will live on forever and they left us some beautiful music. They will never be forgotten and they are everything to Warrington and its music scene.”
It is hoped that the single will help to solidify Viola Beach’s legacy while also benefiting charity. A music video featuring all of the artists who contributed will also be released.
The full line up of contributors to the recording is as follows:
Vocals: Jamie Boyle (The K’s), Joe Banks (The A.V Club), Lucy Bell, Liam Hillyer, Jessica Luise, Calan Nickle (Sienne), Olly Thornton (Uno Mas)
Guitar: Amy Woodall (Crawlers) & Nathan Greenfield (Aligners)
Drums: Chris Peake (Filthy Tricks)
Bass: Ed Dowling (The Zangwills)
Mix: Cal Bate (Former Viola Beach sound engineer)
Artwork: Cameron Brown
The original members of the band are listed below:
Kris Leonard (vocals, guitar)
Jack Dakin (drums)
River Reeves (guitar)
Tomas Lowe (bass)
‘Swings And Waterslides’ will be released on Friday 12th February 2021 on iTunes and all streaming platforms.