Previous Members

Nick Beggs

Bass, Stick, Backing Vocals

Nick BeggsNick Beggs (birthday 15 December ) was born Nicholas Beggs in Winslow, Buckinghamshire. Nick is an English musician, noted for playing the bass guitar and Chapman Stick, and was a member of Kajagoogoo, Iona, and Ellis, Beggs & Howard. Nick’s first band Johnny and the Martians (formed when he was 10) consisted of two friends on trumpet and acoustic guitar with Nick on drums. He attended Linslade Secondary School and Cedars Upper School. After attending art school, in 1979 Nick formed the band Art Nouveau with Steve Askew, Stuart Croxford Neale and Jez Strode. Chris Hamill (Limahl) joined in 1981 and at Nick’s suggestion the band 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 No. 1 in seven European countries, including the UK.

Between 1985 and 1987 Nick concentrated on writing with various other songwriters and finally formed Ellis, Beggs, & Howard in March 1987. The band split in 1989 after enjoying a hit single titled ‘Big Bubbles, No Troubles’ in Germany and Holland. 1990 saw Nick joining the progressive folk band Iona with whom he later recorded two albums, The Book of Kells and Beyond These Shores.

Nick continued working with various artists and bands including Alphaville, Belinda Carlisle, Emma Bunton (on her album Life In Mono) and John Paul Jones , Led Zeppelin’s bass player. In 1996, Nick met Howard Jones on a flight from the United States and a friendship was established, with Howard inviting Nick to tour as part of his band. During this time Nick also worked with bands and artists such as ABC, China Crisis, Cliff Richard, Curiosity Killed The Cat, D:Ream, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gary Numan, Go West, Kim Wilde, Maddy Prior, Mark Shaw, Michael Bolton, Midge Ure, Nena, Nick Heyward, Polysics, Right Said Fred, Seal, Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, T’Pau, Then Jerico, Tom McRae, Tony Hadley, Toyah Willcox and Warren Cuccurullo.

In 1992 Nick went on to work as an A&R Manager for Phonogram Records, becoming a contributor to various guitar publications as a staff writer.

Nick has also recorded and released two solo albums, Stick Insect (2002) and The Maverick Helmsman (2004), and will release a new solo stick album, The Darkness in Men’s Hearts (Burning Shed), in 2013.

Nick is currently a member of Steven Wilson’s touring band in support of Wilson’s two solo albums, Grace For Drowning and The Raven that Refused to Sing; Nick also plays on these albums. He has also found time to write, illustrate and publish Dangerous Potatoes, 13 books of short stories for children. In addition, he has created two comics titled Steven Wilson’s Day Off and Steven Wilson and the Guitar of EPIJ, the latter of which will be released shortly.

 

Niko Tsonev

Guitars

Niko TsonevNiko Tsonev has been called “a guitarist’s guitarist” He is gifted songwriter and producer who really stands apart from the pack of new similar artists with a unique personal style, and a sassy edge. His guitar work is a melting pot of progressive rock, djent, jazz fusion and classical impressionism reminiscent of a dark, modern and edgy Treznor-esque film soundtrack.Niko has performed and recorded with artists and producers from very diverse stylistic backgrounds: Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), JJ Grey (Mofro), Youth (Paul McCartney, Joy Division), Die So Fluid, Digitonal, Aquilina and Fabrice Quentin, encompassing genres from Progressive Rock, Jazz, Blues, Urban through to World music. His stylistic flexibility is showcased in his solo work as well as his work as a film and TV composer.Niko’s debut album Black Feather was released in 2008 resulting in collaborations with fellow guitar heros such as Mr Fastfinger (aka Mika Tyysk), Christophe Godin (Mrglbl) and Mathias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen).

2011 saw the release of “Nix Hydra” which lead to Tsonev being invited to join the Steven Wilson Band as a lead guitarist for his 2012 Grace for Drowning World Tour. The band consisting of Steven Wilson, Adam Holzman, Marco Minnemann, Theo Travis, Nick Beggs and Niko Tsonev filmed the live concert “Get All You Deserve” DVD/BluRay in Mexico City (2012). Niko also contributed guitar solos and additional guitars to Steven Wilson’s 2013 album The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories).

Tsonev’s guitar and production approach on his 2013 solo album “Banshees and Harpsichords” depicts sonic broken landscapes of desolate crystalline beauty, incarnating heavy, glitchy, distorted and intentionally “ugly” guitar sounds as well as the lyrical and near-vocal expression found in Niko’s guitar melodies.

Acid Tears features the amazingly talented Grog from the British alternative band Die So Fluid on vocals (also known for her work with Ozzy Osbourne, Kylie, Goldfrapp among numerous others). On the title track Banshees and Harpsichords the call of Niko’s guitar is answered by the soaring jazz violin work of Samy Bishai ( Natacha Atlas, Tom Jones, Basement Jaxx and Shakira). With elements of progressive rock, djent, jazz fusion and classical impressionism brought forward from Tsonev’s previous works, this record breaks new grounds in terms of sonics and pure guitar creativity.

After being a part of Lifesigns for three and a half years, Niko have made the decision to depart from the band in August of 2016.