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Jamie Lenman at Birmingham Institute

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Former Reuben singer launches solo career
Jamie Lenman's new double album really is a tale of two halves.

Disc one of Muscle Memory features brutal riffs and intense vocals, while disc two is a collection of soft melodies with elements of big band jazz and blues.

jamie lenman
Tale of two halves: Jamie Lenman (pic: Ben Morse)

Jamie, who until 2008 was lead singer of metal band Reuben, says he will do his best to combine the two styles when he embarks on a UK tour that plays Birmingham Institute on December 5.

''We don't want to jar people too much. We'll have a few fast ones, then we'll smooth it down a bit, then bring it back up. It'll be a good set.''

Explaining why he's released an album with two discs of such different music 31-year-old Jamie says: ''I usually write songs that combine the two - you get a big riff and maybe some shouting but then you've got a big chorus and a lot of nice melodies. I thought it would be interesting to split those two and give them each a bit of space, give them a disc each and the listener would have a more uniform listen.''

Muscle Memory is Jamie's first new musical offering since Reuben split five years ago.

''I didn't play any music for about a year, until the end of 2009. I was sick of it really. I had what I suppose you could call a burn out, almost a mini break down. I don't want to get too dramatic but it was very stressful being in a band. It's always stressful being in a rock & roll band, especially that type of band, we didn't have any money and we were touring non-stop. I just couldn't face it, I couldn't pick up a guitar until it became impossible not to and that's when I got back into it.

''When I did start playing music again it was just for my own benefit, to finish all my songs.''

jamie lenman
Peaky Blinders?: Jamie Lenman and his band (pic: Ben Morse)

Jamie admits the process from playing music for his own enjoyment to releasing an album was a slow one.

''I did it step by step. If I'd planned out what I was going to do it would have happened quicker but I thought 'let's play some songs', then 'let's record them', then 'let's release them'. That's why it took so long, plus I have a job and the people I'm working with have 9-5 jobs, so we had to work on the record in the evenings and at weekends.''

Jamie has a full time career as an illustrator and cartoonist. He is currently working on a series of children's history books for publisher Bloomsbury.

''I've finished two, I'm working on another two and there are five more in the pipeline,'' he says.

jamie lenman muscle memory
Muscle Memory: Sleeve artwork

However, he found time to illustrate the sleeve of Muscle Memory and also continue his regular comic strip in Doctor Who Magazine.

''I've been doing Doctor Who Magazine for ten years. The current issue contains my 100th strip for the magazine which is quite a milestone.''

And his verdict on the recent anniversary TV episode?

''I saw it in the cinema in 3D. I thought it was great - lots of good stuff in there, a cracking story.''

Jamie Lenman's UK tour dates:

Dec 4: Brighton Green Door Store;
Dec 5: Birmingham Institute;
Dec 6: Glasgow Tuts;
Dec 7: Manchester Night and Day;
Dec 8: Bristol Thekla;
Dec 9: London Garage.

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Why? Former Reuben singer launches solo career
When: December 5, 2013
Phone: 0121 643 0428
Where: The Institute, 78 Digbeth High Street, Birmingham, B5 6DY
Cost: 10 (adv)
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