Jacob Lee Bane

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December 5, 2010 by Dan Swinhoe

Quitting music can a tough experience for many; some turn to drugs and fade away, some (of Can’t Touch This fame) waste all their cash and find God. As for Lee Bane? “I have travelled a lot, worked with young offenders and addicts in a musical capacity, been working on a book and political activity. Oh, and yoga.”

Jacob Lee Bane is an English singer/songwriter, and joined New Disease and and after touring as support for HIM and releasing the awesome Axiomatic E.P. with his band mates Mark Thwaite (Guitar), Ritch Battersby (Drummer, Ex-Wildhearts), Richard Adams (Bassist) and Eddie Stratton (Drums). They even managed to get a new version of one of their songs onto a Metal Hammermagazine CD, a rare feat for an unsigned band. The labels came knocking soon after, Lee says: “We’d been together for a few years by the time we got signed.  We were actually supposed to sign for David Bottrill’s Mainstation label which was a subsidiary of Universal Records.” Instead Universal itself picked up the band and released their debut single, Like Rain. “Hold on, (Here Comes The Sun)” was lined up as the next single, which never happened. We can only speculate the reasons we were dropped but it was a heartbreaking experience for us” he says.

Lee soon left the band after New Disease were dropped, but the split was more than amicable, he explains: “Rich is still my best mate and Eddie and I often pontificate over world events.  Mark and I still keep in touch loosely.” There are still legal issues between the band and label, Lee says: “Mark is still looking to get some recompense for our time together and is shopping ND to smaller companies and film soundtracks.” He has some sound advice for people starting out: “Basically my advice to anyone looking to get signed, stick with the smaller labels. You will meet a lot of bull *****ers but in time you’ll learn to spot them easily. Every knock back is one step closer to your goal.  Get yourselves noticed and follow every lead that comes along.  Play every gig going, talk to people and generate a buzz.”

Lee pretty much left music after New Disease but still dabbles, when asked if he is part of any music scene right now he says: “I’m not at the moment although part of me wants to be. I still write songs occasionally on the guitar but I’m not doing anything worthy of note.”

“I did my last solo gig about 2 years ago.  The first gig I did was hard, I kept looking back over my shoulder for a count in or to give a nod for something and I ended up feeling really stupid staring at the emptiness behind me.” He continues: “I had interest from some indie labels and a couple of management companies offered to pick me up after the ND split but I wasn’t keen on the idea of having another go at getting signed or pushed out of a bigger door.  I wanted some privacy.” While Lee does have some solo tracks up on the internet, he has no interest in releasing them officially, he says: “I was pretty lucky when I went solo as I was teaching music technology so I had access to professional recording equipment and a decent studio.”

After leaving the band Lee has been travelling with his girlfriend and settled (for now) in Berlin, because of “a puppy that we got really attached to. It’s a great city, very cultural and upcoming but still relatively cheap compared to most capitals.” Lee now teaches a few guitar lessons but keeps occupied with other things. He says: “I’d spent so much of my life making music out of love for it but I always had other things I wanted to do so I took the opportunity.” Right now that opportunity is in the literary form, he says: “It’s all about the book and where that may take me.”

On the subject of this book Lee is very coy: ” it’s still very early days so I don’t want to give too much away.”

It’s set forty years in the future in the midst of clear climatic changes, a global increase of two degrees, which is catastrophic.  Large deserts dominate the landscape, clean water supplies are scarce and weather conditions are extreme.  Civilisation has crumbled and only the rich can afford to enjoy the freedom of city living.  The poor get rounded up into concentration camps and made corporate slaves, fed crap food and drugged water to keep them compliant.  One kid escapes a camp and sparks a revolution against the corporations (who replaced governments as we know them).  He has allies and enemies along the way as he fights a war to give natural resources back to the people.  It all leads to an explosive end.”

When asked where the idea for such an apocalyptic book Lee says: “The idea came from meetings with the transitiontowns.org people after discussions about climate change and oil conservation.” He says: “I started studying peak oil and climate change more seriously and from that the first ideas were born.” He’s currently a quarter of the way through writing and “No idea” when it will be ready for print, presumably on recycled paper. He says: “It’s all planned out but there’s still a lot of words to put in there.”

While many rock stars often turn their hands to things outside music later in their career the same isn’t true for Lee, he says: “I’ve always been a writer, it’s by far what I’m best at. I’ve written short stories and articles but never a full novel.”

As well as a talented singer and writer, Lee is an animal rights activist and speaker, he explains: “I’ve been something of an environmentalist since my 20′s,I gave lectures on peak oil at various colleges in the UK and used them to try to promote greener thinking among students by looking at alternative, renewable energy sources.”

The book is the present and foreseeable future, but looking beyond that onto the subject of reforming he’s pretty resolute, saying:” There’s more chance of Tony Blair being tried as a war criminal.” Although he adds: ”Actually, the chances of that are increasing aren’t they?” But overall Lee has more than just music in mind: “My ultimate ambition is to reach the end of my life, look back on it and be able to say, ‘F**k, that was awesome.’”

For Lee’s solo material go to http://www.indabamusic.com/people/jlbane

For his time in New Disease go to http://www.myspace.com/newdisease

For info on climate change go to http://transitiontowns.org

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