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Country United Kingdom

Style Melodic Rock / AOR

At the age of 17, Manchester born keyboard player Darren Wharton joined the legendary Irish rock band Thin Lizzy and recorded the famous “Chinatown” album with Philip Lynott, Scott Gorham, Snowy White and Brian Downey. After being featured on Chinatown, Phil Lynott had taken Darren under his wing and the young musician from Manchester soon found himself touring extensively throughout Europe, America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. After a year of selling out concert halls around the globe Thin Lizzy once again returned to the studio. Now as an established member of the band Darren was about to embark on his second Thin Lizzy album “Renegade”. After co-writing “Angel of Death” with Philip Lynott, Wharton’s talent for song writing began to emerge. Several world tours later, Darren went on to co-write “The Sun goes Down”, “This is the One”, “Heart Attack” and “Someday She’s Gonna Hit Back” on the legendary album “Thunder and Lightning”. After four great years of playing along side Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and White Snake’s John Sykes, the sad news was announced that mega rock band Thin Lizzy had decided to disband.

Darren returned to his home town Manchester where he began to write, sing and produce his own songs. After recruiting young guitarist, Vinny Burns, it wasn’t long before Darren’s new band DARE were getting noticed by the major labels in London and in 1987 Darren and DARE were signed by A&M records. In 1988 Dare recorded their début album ‘Out Of The Silence’ in Los Angeles at singer, Joni Mitchel’s private studio in Beverly Hills. After this highly acclaimed first release, Dare’s live performances soon earned them a cult following throughout Europe, opening for Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page , Gary Moore and Scandinavian rockers Europe. Playing extensively in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Belgium, Italy, France, England and Ireland. Dare were now an established band in their own right……..

Back in Los Angeles, Dare’s second album “Blood from Stone” was produced by renowned L.A. producer Keith Olsen (Whitesnake, The Scorpions’ and had a much harder edge than the previous ‘Out Of The Silence’. However when label giants PolyGram bought A&M records in the UK, several changes forced Darren and Dare to walk away from their 4 year deal. Disillusioned and frustrated, Darren decided to move away from his home town of Manchester, to the majestic mountains of North Wales. Settling in the Snowdonia National park….Darren quickly set about building his own recording studio. Now working with new guitarist and friend Richard Dews, Darren was inspired by the haunting natural beauty of his new surroundings, and a new atmospheric Celtic feel started to emerge in the Dare sound. The first songs to come out of Wales were to become Dare’s 3rd studio album ‘Calm Before The Storm’ , it would also see Darren’s in a new role – as producer. ‘Calm Before The Storm’ was well received by Dare fans marked the welcome return of Dare, re establishing the band throughout Europe and the UK. Dare were back!

Taking time out from writing, in 1994 ten years after the sad death of Phillip Lynott, Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham, John Sykes, Darren Wharton, Brian Downey and Marco Mendoza reformed for a very successful tribute tour of America, Japan and Europe to honour their friend Phil Lynott. On January 4th they performed in Dublin, at the Point and were joined on stage with many Irish legends including U2’s Bono, Bob Geldof, Joe Elliot, and Van Morrison. Back in Wales again Darren had composed new material for a new album “Belief” This beautiful album set a new standard for Dare. “Like a mirror to the soul” and a doorway to the heart of this unique songwriter, the first single ‘White Horses’ was play listed by legendary DJ, Sir Terry Wogan on the UK’s largest national radio station, BBC Radio 2. Tours throughout Europe and Scandinavia were to follow, including a 12 date tour with Asia in the UK.

After the success of ‘Belief’ Dare fans were rewarded again when “Beneath the Shining Water” was released in the summer of 2004. This album is a modern classic, original, yet instantly addictive. It featured some of Darren’s most inspired songs to date. ‘Sea Of Roses’ once again receiving months of BBC Radio 2 airplay. Dare had once again pushed back their musical boundaries, broadening the bands appeal to both young and old alike. Behind the scenes, 2008 finally saw the official US release of ‘Belief’ and ‘Beneath The Shining Water’ as a double CD though Warner Music/ADA in the U.S. widening Dare’s audience even further.

Now the world stage was set, Dare’s latest album ‘Arc Of The Dawn’ was released October 2009 on Wharton’s own label , Legend Records, through Warners ADA, and to the fans delight, saw the return of old friend and guitar legend Vinny Burns; back with Dare again on live shows, including a famous appearance at ‘Sweden Rock’ along side Whitesnake and Def Leppard. 2012 was an exciting year for Dare and their fans. With Vinny Burns now firmly back in the band, along with drummer Kev Whitehead and Nigel Clutterbuck on Bass there were many new projects planned. Including a re-release. ‘Calm Before The Storm 2’ Special edition, completely re recorded with bonus tracks, never before released.

Dare released their most recent album to date, Sacred Ground in July 2016. The album is often referred to as studio album seven, given that Calm Before The Storm 2 was essentially a re-record, and does include a ‘7’ in the cover artwork design. Line up for Sacred Ground was Darren Wharton (vocals and keyboards), Vinny Burns (guitars), Kevin Whitehead (drums), Nigel Clutterbuck (bass). Sleeve notes featured the addition of Marc Roberts on keys for live shows. The album topped the Amazon Rock Charts in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, and received predominantly positive reviews, albeit these usually genre-specific. A typical example might be which comments that: [the album]] features some of Wharton’s most mature song writing to date. Thought provoking and passionate, whilst still retaining a dark rock edge. It continues: …the return of the masterful Vinny Burns on guitar is certainly a stroke of brilliance. Vinny’s guitar takes the songs to the next level, delivering the rock edge that fans have wanted. Yes, tempo is far more ‘up’ than recent work and like past Dare albums, it does take several listens to get to know the tunes.

The similar pacing makes it a little harder to separate the songs initially, but as always with Dare, it is all about mood. And no one does mood better than Darren Wharton and Vinny Burns. The summation includes: There are no fillers here – 11 great tracks of keyboard and guitar framed music; this is a wonderful album that takes a step back from the Celtic influences of recent times and a huge step back towards straight ahead moody AOR.In an interview for in August 2016, Wharton commented that:I’ve got a new album almost ready to go for next year, so. So it won’t be 4 years ’til the next one.Tour dates/venues during 2017 included the Oslo Hard Rock Café in Norway, the Rockingham Festival at Nottingham Trent University, UK, Winter Storm in Scotland, and the H.E.A.T festival in Germany. The band continued to tour into 2018 and by September 2018 venues had included Hard Rock Heaven (UK), row Club (Athens, Greece), and Melodic Rock Festival (Sweden).

The band had also co-headlined five UK shows with FM. Also during 2018, on 4 May 2018 the band announced the Anniversary Special Edition of Out Of The Silence, Out Of The Silence II. The original album has been completely re-recorded and was released 29 June, with pre-sales having started on 18 May. On 9 May 2018 the band announced the launch of a new official website. On 30 November 2018 Dare announced initial European tour details for 2019, which by 6 January 2019 had expanded to 22 dates in Belgium, Germany, Holland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. A new album is scheduled for release in 2019.

– Out Of The Silence [1988]
– Blood From Stone [1991]
– Calm Before The Storm [1998]
– Belief [2001]
– Beneath The Shining Water [2004]
– Arc Of The Dawn [2009]
– Calm Before The Storm 2 [2012]
– Sacred Ground [2016]
– Out Of The Silence II [2018]

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