English Channel Band Tom Bio

Tom Harmon

Tom Harmon Photo by Julie DoranWhere were you born?
Hamilton, Ohio

What lead you to become a guitar player/singer?
Some of my clearest memories as a boy are of some of those 60's rock bands performing on shows like Ed Sullivan, Shindig and Hullabaloo. I'd play my brother and sister's records in my room, playing an inexpensive guitar my parents got me and sing, all the while imagining I was a member of one group or another ... usually the Beatles.

Musical Influences:
The Beatles (above all), The Rolling Stones, The Young Rascals, The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Dave Clark Five.

Name a few of your favorite albums (CDs) of all time:
Rubber Soul (The Beatles), Time Piece (The Young Rascals), Live Cream Vol. II (Cream), Quadrophoenia (The Who),  Paul Weller (Paul Weller), Try Whistling This (Neil Finn), Live at Earl Court (Morrissey).

Name a few of your favorite songs that English Channel Plays:
Don't Let Me Down (The Beatles), For Your Love (The Yardbirds), She's Not There (The Zombies), Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin).

Say anything about yourself and the band you want to say:
I've always credited my love of music to the really good records my older brother and sister brought home and to the fact that it was OK with them if I played them too. (How cool is that?) Truth be told, I think I do this (play in a band, I mean) because, as a boy, I used to love to entertain my brother and sister (and their friends) by lip-syncing to their records as though I was on Bandstand or Shindig. (That probably got old for them after a while, but they never said so.) So, for me it comes down to the fact that when I'm playing, I'm doing "that thing" that I love to do more than anything else in the world.

Give a phrase or sentence (or two) about each your fellow band members.
Gary was the first person I contacted when I started to put the band together. I knew above all else, that I wanted his bass playing (we hear exactly the same thing in bass sounds), as well as his work ethic and common sense on board or I'd be lost. Gary is the one I ask when I need to know the truth or whether something is working or not. I have to add that Gary and his wife, Teresa, have sacrificed an enormous amount of time, space and toil by being the home site of our rehearsals. There is no word for the extent of gratitude we all have for that.

John is, I swear, no less than three people, all of whom declare themselves to be "John." He is, of course, our keyboardist and sings both lead and backing vocals. Then there is John the Tech-Boy, who knows how to wire and program everything. Then there is John the Info-Boy, can call up any piece of information... ranging from the extremely important and time-critical ... to the microscopic. Simply an amazing brain.

Vicki has been an absolute game-changer for the band since joining in mid 2008. First, she brought herself up-to-speed faster than we could ever hoped for by learning an enormous amount of material within a very brief time. In addition to that, she's adopted a whole new vocabulary of music to her singing style and opened the door for us to add a new aspect to our set-list. She has a great ear for harmony, and she molds her lead vocals in such a way as to make the songs sound every bit as much for her as anybody. (I also think she punches harder than any of the rest of us.)

What's your fondest memory with the band so far?
It's actually a bunch of little snippets of things, all strung together ... brief images, I guess. Things like a part of a song where you notice that everyone in the crowd is moving their head in unison with the beat or singing with you ... or you're standing next to the stage with just the other people in the band with you, maybe a minute before you go on ... or the way things go into slow-motion when everyone is focused and playing well and the whole room is there with you.

What do you want people to know about the band most of all?
The time we spend playing, whether it's a 4-hour club date or a 1-hour festival, is where all five of us love to be, doing what we love to do, playing this music. This is the bottom line of who we are.