After winning all three categories they were nominated in at the Salisbury Music Awards it would be fair to say that the Stone Donkey Pilots ended the year on a bit of a high. Their blend of messed up funky blues has certainly been embraced by Salisbury's music lovers. We asked them why they think people have welcomed their music?
"We do real foot stomping music which quickly becomes infectious, people soon find a beat that they can bop along to. We thought we might be a bit of a Marmite band, not to every ones taste but some really unexpected people have come up to us and said they love our music. When writing we insist that every song must sound different, however we do try to make each song sound like a train, we also want our songs to be upbeat and something you can dance to".
It is hard to categorise the Stone Donkey Pilots, not only do they draw musicalinspiration from so many genres but they also draw on many different musicians to play with.
"I remember playing at the Ale House in Salisbury. During our final song we invited all the bands who had performed previously that night to join us. We had an Accordion, Harmonica, 3 Guitars, Double Bass, Cajon, Djembe and a Drum kit. It's the same at Open Mic night, we encourage people to play with us and if they are any good and own their own checked shirt we invite them to play at our next gig".
As a band the Stone Donkey Pilots are unrestricted and free to do what they want. Their organic approach makes them exciting and unpredictable which has been the main ingredient in their success. Paul Blake explained that the band started after he found himself without a band, Steve Gee bought a Djembe having never played one before. Together they headed to an Open Mic night where they met Pete Leonard and discovered that they shared the same taste in music. Every asset this band have seem to have come from chance encounters and decisions. Even the bands name is accidental. In the early days they would change their name for every gig, the only constant being the word 'donkey'. They played one gig using the name of 'The Stone Donkey Pilots'. This gig was featured in a local newspaper naming them as 'The Stone Donkey Pilots' as they had now appeared in print it was decided that they had to keep this as their band name.
When speaking with Paul Blake he insists that the most important aspect of the band and music is that it must be fun. However he did reveal that the band do have ambition (albeit laid back ambition).
"When we started we wanted to get good enough so we could play at an Open Mic, then we wanted to be good enough to play a gig. Once we had performed our first gig we wanted to play the Ale House in Salisbury. After we played the Ale House we started to think about playing the Salisbury Arts Centre which we have now played twice, most recently supporting a ska band from Leicester called By The Rivers. I suppose our next goal is to play at festivals and if we do that we'll have to think about what to do next but I don't think any further than our next step".