Thursday, 4 September 2014


AT the age of just 21, Lyme Regis musician Ben Kapur will be thrust into the spotlight this Saturday (September 6th) when he drives the house band alongside Deep Purple legend Ian Gillan, as they lead thousands of amateur guitarists gathered for the record-breaking event Guitars On The Beach, with hopes of forming Britain’s biggest ever band. We caught up wth Ben, a former Woodroffe School pupil, during a break in his rehearsals.

YOU’RE the lead guitarist of the Guitars On The Beach House Band, which means you'll be leading thousands of guitarists. How do you cope with the pressure?
The pressure is not too bad for me, it's more excitement than pressure because I enjoy it so much. Being the lead guitarist of GOTB is one of the best things I've ever been able to do in my musical career - plus I'm playing with remarkable musicians in the house band and that's a huge buzz, especially duelling guitars with a fantastic player like Olli Dixon.

YOU are one of the founders of GOTB. What were your highlights of last year’s event?
One of my favourite things of last year was getting the opportunity to play with Billy Geraghty, Robbie McIntosh and Andy Scott, three extremely talented musicians who have taught me so much by giving me the opportunity to play with them. 

WHAT will GOTB be like this year?
GOTB is going to be so much bigger, better and more incredible this year, because of the enthusiasm we all have and the fact that more than 3,500 people of all ages have signed up for it. There's a lot of local Lyme talent performing throughout the day; we've got musicians from B Sharp, we've got Lyme's great statesman of guitar, Marshall Stapleton, and very good bands like Delta Tango 7, Glasshouse, Stairlift To Heaven and the amazing Papa Le Gal. Everyone has been rehearsing hard to make this better than last year, to attract more visitors, as that it good for Lyme, and to have a great time.

HOW long have you been playing the guitar and was it your first instrument?
I've been playing the guitar since I was 11-years-old, so that's 10 years now. I'm completely self-taught, and I eat, sleep and breath it. However, my first instrument was the saxophone, which I started to learn at the age of six.

YOUR own band 1/2 Jack will also be performing on the day. What does GOTB mean for local bands?
Well, if I wasn't on the bill to be on that stage on the day, I'd be nagging organiser Geoff Baker to get my band on the gig. We've got about 20 acts performing and it's a fantastic opportunity for all of us to get on a big stage and perform in front of such a big crowd. It's great experience and it teaches you a lot about stagecraft and showmanship.

ONE of the record-bid songs is Deep Purple's ‘Smoke On The Water’ and you will be Ian Gillan's lead guitarist for that song too. What is that going to feel like?
Well, what can I say… wow! It's going to feel amazing! It's a fabulous opportunity to get to play alongside the actual singer of Deep Purple. I met Ian for the first time recently to discuss the show, and I was rather nervous because he's a rock and roll legend, but he's such a nice bloke; calm, friendly, reassuring, he put me completely at ease. Now I can't wait to play on 'Smoke' alongside him. I'm practicing all the time so that I can do my best and do him proud. All of us in the house band feel the same, we're honoured that he is leading GOTB. It's an honour too for the town, I know he lives nearby but I believe this is the first time he's performed here.

CAN novice guitarists join in at GOTB or is it only for you seasoned players?
Anybody can join in. That's the whole point about GOTB, it's for all ages and all abilities. You don't even have to be a guitarist, you just need to learn a few notes and we're going to have guitarists from B Sharp giving last-minute lessons on the sand before the record attempts. They are going to have a tutorial tent to give a crash course in learning the chords, so bring a guitar and come on down. GOTB is an entirely new way of presenting live music - you don't just go along to watch and listen, you go to join in and play along. It's interactive concert-going and I think this is going to catch on and become a new thing in music, Lyme has started something completely different which is going to grow. 

WHERE do you hope to be in five years time and where will GOTB be then?
I hope to be a successful musician, everybody has a dream and that has always been mine, and so any opportunity that comes along like this, I grab it. GOTB is a great innovation, this idea of the audience taking part in a concert is a very smart one and all of us organising it have even bigger plans for its future. In five years time we are going to have to ship in a million tons of more sand to Lyme because we are going to need a bigger beach!

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