TEN

Country United Kingdom

Style Melodic Rock/AOR

After the release of his first two successful solo albums, British vocalist/songwriter Gary Hughes was making the preparations to begin recording what was to be his next solo album. It was not long before the idea of a single album was scratched since Gary Hughes, ended up recording 28 songs that were to be divided into two albums – one containing the heavier material, and one that would contain the ballads. The initial idea was to mix the album in the USA, so famous guitarists were considered for the guitarist position, like Doug Aldrich, Lanny Cordola and Ralph Santolla. However, when it was decided to lay down the guitar parts in England the name of the guitarist Vinny Burns (Dare, Ultravox) was brought up. Given the fact that Mike Stone was assigned to mix the albums, the Hughes/Burns project evolved into a band situation, marking the first official incarnation of TEN. During 1995, another ex-Dare member joined the band when Greg Morgan was brought in to fill in for the drummer position.

TEN’s first album (named X) was released in May 1996 becoming an instant success in Japan. In order to support the album for the upcoming tour, the band recruited bassist Martin “Shelley” Shelton (ex-Dare), keyboard player Ged Rylands (ex-KAGE) and guitarist John Halliwell (ex-KAGE). With most of the songs already written, the band returned to the studio in order to record their second album. The Name of the Rose was released in September 1996 and was equally successful to X, gaining some enthusiastic reviews from the critics.

With the success of their first two albums and the growing popularity of the band, the first full blown tour was arranged for the end of 1996. Before the tour, bassist Martin “Shelley” Shelton left the band and was replaced by Andrew “Drew” Webb. After a successful tour, TEN (minus bassist Andrew “Drew” Webb) returned to the studio in order to record their next studio album. The mixing duties again were appointed to Mike Stone and The Robe was released in September 1997. The Robe marked a change in the overall sound of TEN, which was now a combination of the instantly recognisable Melodic Rock/Hard Rock sound of the two previous albums and of powerful/epic atmospheres and influences. With the addition of bassist Steve Mckenna the band toured heavily for a year, in support of their newly released album, while in 1998 the band’s Japanese label ZERO Records and the European Frontiers Records released a double live album named Never Say Goodbye.

TEN’s popularity in Europe increased when the band signed to major label Mercury Records for the release of their 4th studio albumSpellbound. The album was released in April 1999, was produced by the well-known producer Rafe Mckenna and it was one of the most successful TEN albums in Europe.Spellbound was also the first TEN album for which renowned artist Luis Royo designed the cover.

In 1999 the band returned in the studio in order to begin the recordings for their next album. Babylon, which was released in August 2000 and featured renowned keyboard playerDon Airey, was a concept album which was set in the future and was based around the story of a computer programmer and his tragic love affair. Babylon, once again, proved to be another successful release for TEN and Gary Hughes.

The band returned in the studio to record the follow-up album of Babylon named Far Beyond the World. The recordings took place in Hannover, Germany with Tommy Newton behind the mixing desk and ex-Hard Rain keyboard player Paul Hodson taking the place of Don Airey. In December 2001, TEN released Far Beyond the World, however, just before the promotion of the new album had begun, guitarist Vinny Burns announced his departure from the band, citing creative differences.

The band held auditions for the position of the lead guitarist, and in January 2002 announced Chris Francis as Vinny Burns’ replacement. During 2002 and 2003, the band was on a break since Gary Hughes and the rest of the band had been working on Hughes’ two-part rock opera project named Once and Future King.
TEN returned in the forefront again with the release of Return to Evermore in 2004 through Gary Hughes’ own record label Intensity Records, while in 2005 the band announced that they would release a double disk Best Of collection, aptly named The Essential Collection 1995-2005 in order to celebrate the band’s tenth anniversary. The Essential Collection 1995-2005 featured newly recorded versions of the songs divided into two disks – one of ballads and one of heavier songs.
In addition to The Essential Collection, the band announced the release of a new album in 2006 and so, in August 2006 the band released The Twilight Chronicles which featured another change in the sound of the band, leaning towards a more symphonic sound. By then, the band was comprised by Gary Hughes, Chris Francis, John Halliwell, Paul Hodson and session drummer Frank Basile, since bassist Steve Mckenna had left the band in December 2005. By 2007, TEN has been put on a hiatus and in May 2008 Chris Francis had also announced his departure from the band.

On July 2010 it was announced that Gary Hughes and the rest of the band had been working on a new TEN album named Stormwarning, due to be released in early 2011. The new album would feature members Gary Hughes, John Halliwell, Paul Hodson and Mark Zonder (Fates Warning) (who guested on drums) and would be produced by the well known producer Dennis Ward.

On August 2010 an unreleased song from the Babylon sessions named Dawn Star emerged, as part of the AhORa Rock podcast of the Rocktopia music site. Originally Dawn Star was meant to be the eleventh song of the Babylon album, but it was removed from it just three weeks prior to its final release.

On January 21 2011, it was announced that the band filmed a video with Devin Dehaven as the director. “Endless Symphony” was the highest budget video to date for the band and it was released on the 3rd of February 2011.

Stormwarning was released in Japan on the 19th of January 2011, in North America on the 15th of February and on the 18th of the same month in Europe. It proved to be a successful comeback for the band and its frontman Gary Hughes after 4 years of absence from the music scene.

On September 2011, Paul Hodson announced his departure from the band on a TEN group on Facebook. Soon after guitarist Neil Fraser and bassist Mark Sumner followed. On November the 5th 2011, for their Fleetwoodstock charity gig, the band featured new members lead guitarist Dan Mitchell and keyboardist Darrel Treece-Birch, alongside bassist Steve Mckenna who has returned to the band since August of the same year.

On late February 2012, the band announced the first leg of their UK tour, supported by the bands Serpentine and White Widdow which will take place between the 25th of May and the 1st of June. The band will also appear for the first time on Firefest on the 19th of October alongside Tyketto, Dante Fox and Lionville. According to the band’s official sites TEN will also appear in this year’s Hard Rock Festival.

In addition to the tour and the festival appearances, Gary Hughes is currently putting the finishing touches to the band’s new studio album Heresy and Creed, due to be released on the 26th of September 2012 in Japan, on the 19th of October in Europe and on the 22nd in North America. Gary Hughes announced on his official Facebook page that the first single off the new album is going to be the song “Gunrunning”. The video clip of the song will again be directed by Devin Dehaven.

– X [1996]
– The Name of the Rose [1996]
– The Robe [1997]
– Spellbound [1999]
– Babylon [2000]
– Far Beyond the World [2001]
– Return to Evermore [2004]
– The Twilight Chronicles [2006]
– Stormwarning [2011]
– Heresy and Creed [2012]

 

 

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