Ken Bearman

Biography of Ken “Zakala” Bearman – Bass Player

Dances Like Chicken

Dances Like Chicken

[These are the actual words of Ken. The webmaster, whilst entirely to blame for the format, accepts no responsibility for Ken, regardless of the money offered. Any poetry read as a result of a link from this site is solely at the risk of the reader as I refuse to pay for the insurance.]

1984 to 1985 – Nine While Nine

After several abortive attempts to form a band at school “Nine While Nine” (name stolen from a ‘Sisters of Mercy’ song) were formed pretty much exclusively for the purpose of a charity gig to raise money for the Band Aid appeal, actually thinking of it well before they announced Live Aid. Just as well really – we needed much more rehearsal time! A 25 minute set of covers were played, to the applause of a pretty well packed house, though I wonder if the size of the audience wasn’t more to do with getting out of double PE.


Ken Bearman – vocals, rhythm guitar
David Hemming – bass guitar and drum machine programming
Andy Norledge – keyboards
Mark Young – lead guitars
A dodgy drum machine – drums (well like drums only slower, Dave!)
Richard Hill, David Higginson, Paul Salter, Joanna Ealey, Mark Parfitt – additional choir for the finale.
Tony Sefton – sound and lights.

Most notable achievement – Playing a rendition of Ultravox’s “Love’s Great Adventure” at half speed because the drum machine was set wrong.

1985 to 1986 – Risk

In a pathetic attempt to cash in on our previous year’s triumph we returned in a somewhat modified form (minus the Bass player who couldn’t be bothered). We played one gig at school in which we destroyed the winning formula by breaking up the covers with some of our own songs (which were really under-rehearsed). We didn’t draw such a large audience either – it was a lunchtime gig on a sunny day! Mercifully mostly forgotten.


Ken Bearman – vocals, rhythm guitar and drum machine programming (think I’d trust anyone else this time???)
Andy Norledge – keyboards
Mark Young – lead guitar
A TR808 drum machine – drums (not much better than last time really – but sold for a fortune in 2002)

Most notable achievement – Leaving the building alive.

1988 to 1989 – Hormone Implant

Also known as Corderoy Nightmare. Avant Garde, experimental, unusual, screaming white noise – just some of the words used to describe “Hormone Implant”. We wanted to be brilliantly revolutionary, but it turned out we were just crap. Damn it was fun though. We even got our “demo” listened to by the local paper’s music reviewer. His total critique consisted of “Hmmm… errrr… interesting… I liked the last one until it got all weird.” So, quite a good review really. We’d have got it printed if we hadn’t insisted on wearing paper bags on our heads for the photos. Ahead of our time I feel.


Ken Bearman (Wing Commander Shitt Hott)- vocals, shouting, drum programming
Matthew Crowther (Field Marshal ????) – bloody loud distorted guitars
Richard White (Rear Admiral Nerys Hughs) – Ummm… vocals? Rich mate? What did you do exactly? [Richard has replied in the blog]

Most notable achievement – First band to do any recording (well if you can call it that).

1991 to 1993 – Twelfth House

Rock, goth and indie. First seriously gigging band formed from the remnants of “The Pagan Lords”. Rob and Nick asked me if I were interested in forming a band with them, so I went out and found a bass player and a guitarist and we did just that. They even agreed to play my songs :). We played most of our gigs at Birmingham University and supported countless great (and not so great) bands for little more than a few cans of beer. It was also refreshing because for the first time I was in a band with a real drummer. Hmmm…. at least with a drum machine you only have to punch in the instructions once. Seriously Nick and Paul were an almost perfect rhythm section. They both departed Birmingham for pastures new and I miss them both, sniff.


Rob Bates – rhythm guitar, keyboard & vocals
Ken Bearman – vocals & acoustic guitar
Paul Blackman – bass guitar
Nick May – drums
Dan Rogers – lead guitar

Most notable achievement – A great outdoor gig with “The Love Commandos (Mk1)” at a friend’s farm. Huge PA, lighting rig, motorbikes and so much fun!

1994 – Love Commandos (Mk 2)

70’s & 80’s Rock cover band (sort of). After Nick and Paul departed for wherever, I was asked to fill in on bass guitar for Paul and did I know a drummer? As it happens I did which is how we got roped into playing two gigs, one at a private party and the other at the farm on the notorious L-shaped stage (yes Ian Ward and Studs, I haven’t forgotten. I just hope everyone else has!). All our rehearsals went really well and Mike Douglas our new “lead” guitarist coped with the material perfectly well. Unfortunately, on stage he suffered from nerves and had a tendency to go to pieces. He was, and presumably still is, such a nice guy that even though it was the worst gig I have ever played (I just walked off into the night after the last song), I can’t hold it against him.


Rob Bates – keyboard, backing vocals, second guitar
Ken Bearman – bass
Mike Douglas – lead guitar
Neil Horsburgh – vocals
Andy Hubble – drums
Paul Moody – Sax

Most notable achievement – An L-shaped stage!

1994 to 1997 – Shun

Rock, indie, a touch of goth. Shun (the last and probably best name of a truly dubious selection) were formed from assorted parts of the ill fated Love Commandos (Mk2) and Twelfth House. Andy and I got together with Dan and asked a guitarist friend Jon to play bass guitar for us. Well frankly Jon was too good a guitarist to be playing bass so our search for another bass player began. Numerous name changes and line-ups followed, the most stable being the one with Jon’s housemate Ben on bass. Ben’s eventual departure and began the slow demise of the band. We did write some interesting songs, though we never gigged enough to give them the hearing they deserved.


Jon Attfield – rhythm guitar & bass guitar
Ken Bearman – vocals, 12 string acoustic guitar
Andy Hubble – drums.
Dan Rogers – lead guitar
Ben Holness and numerous others – bass guitar

Most notable achievement – Most stupid names ever which included “Jesus Wore Boots” and “Mr Johnson’s Battery Powered Electric Pepper Grinder”

1998 to 2004 – Love Commandos (Mk 3)

Rock, Grunge, Alternative. Here we are! After Shun, Jon, Andy and I asked Neil and Rob to join us in a reformed Love Commandos. The idea was to lead a dozen or so rock standards and do the pub circuit in Birmingham. Of course it didn’t happen that way. We discovered that we didn’t really want to play rock standards and that the pub circuit was at an all time low. We forged on, however, and today we’re gigging with reasonable frequency and the pub circuit seems to be starting to happen again. Hurrah! We even started to include our own material in the set which went down pretty well :).


Jon Attfield – guitar
Rob Bates – keyboard, guitar, backing vocals
Ken Bearman – bass, backing vocals
Neil Horsburgh – vocals
Andy Hubble – drums.

Most notable achievement – Playing a set that includes ABBA and Therapy songs.

1999 to 2004 Druidspear

Pagan Rock. I was asked to join “Druidspear” as bass player after the band was dissolved and reformed by Jim. I’d been a huge fan of the band for ages and jumped at the chance. The band is very fluid, the line-up below representing only the current full gigging band. “Druidspear” has spawned a number of other off-shoots and collaborations based around Harborne record shop/recording studio/music label Anew Music. These include “Pagan Dub Lord” which is an experimental fusion of musical elements. Jim and I have created the High Horse Recording Studio which saw the production of the next “Druidspear” CD and numerous other projects. Druidspear are now sadly on a permanent hiatus.


Ken Bearman – bass guitar, vocals
James Binning – guitar, vocals, shamanic stuff
Andrew Bland – keyboards, didgeridoo, whistles, percussion
John Curle – percussion
Andy O’Neale – guitar
Andy Thorpe – guitar
Marky Williams – drums

Most notable achievement – Playing the 1999 UK Pagan Federation Conference at Fairfield Halls in Croydon to an audience of thousands!

2004 to Present – Love Commandos (Mk 4)


Rob Bates – Keyboard, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ken Bearman – Bass, Backing Vocals
Neil Horsburgh – Vocals
Andy Hubble – Drums.
Richard Price – Guitar