DeeExpus – A brief history from 2007 to the present
DeeExpus hail from the North East of England and were formed after guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Andy Ditchfield decided to develop his long time solo project into a working band. A chance meeting in April 2007 with singer Tony Wright, who had been in a band with Andy when they were both in school, led to DeeExpus becoming two for the first time. The initial intention was to form a full band at this point however the two found they worked together so well they set about writing and recording their first album, with a few guest solo performances. “Halfway Home” was the fruits of their labour and was released to worldwide critical acclaim in May 2008, drawing comparisons to Porcupine Tree, Marillion, Dream Theater and Riverside.
Following the album release the two set about forming a live band to perform the album and, after a few personnel changes, DeeExpus performed Halfway Home live for the first time in January 2009. Only one gig later the band was off to Poland to record a live DVD, and “Far From Home” was released through Metalmind in June 2009. DeeExpus continued to perform throughout the UK and were delighted to receive the accolade of Best New Band of 2009 from the UK based Classic Rock Society. Numerous gigs followed including the Cambridge Rock Festival and the prestigious “Church of Prog” Sunday morning slot at RosFest 2010 in Gettysburg, USA.
On their return from RosFest Andy and Tony set about working on album number two, entitled “King of Number 33”. The title track being an epic tale based on the true story of a local folklore figure from Tony’s formative years, a tale to which Andy applied his musical pallette, painting the perfect backdrop for Tony to recount the saga. The Album features a guest appearance by Nik Kershaw who takes lead vocal for the song ‘Memo’ and also see’s Marillions Mark Kelly join the band as full time keyboardist.
King of 33 was released in March 2012 through Edel/EarMusic and features, alongside Tony and Andy; John Dawson on Bass guitar, Mark Kelly on Keyboards and Henry Rogers on Drums.
In January 2012, Mark was diagnosed with SSHL necessitating a break from the band, so renowned producer and keyboard player Mike Varty was intoruduced to the line up along with Michael McCrystal on Guitar and the band subsequently went off to headline a small tour of the UK with fellow County Durham band Winter in Eden providing support.
Continuing the bands run of health related bad luck, around June, Tony was struck down with Illness and forced to leave the band along with John Dawson being replaced by Dave Anderson on Bass. The decision was made to carry on with Andy taking over lead vocals and the remainder of the year saw DeeExpus once again tour the UK, this time as support to Marillion with a final gig in October: an appearance at IO Pages festival in Holland.
2013 saw Mike Varty collecting Classic Rock Society’s Best Keyboard Player of 2012, Henry Rogers collecting Classic Rock Society’s Best Drummer of 2012 and DeeExpus once again joining Marillion, this time at their now legendary “Weekend” at Port Zelande in Holland.
The band have thus far taken a bit of a hatius in 2014 with each member busy with various other projects and bands, however with the announcement of a handful of gigs in September, maybe the third album could be next on the agenda … who knows …