Mad Martins is the latest project from internationally acclaimed songwriter and performing and recording artist Gary Miller (“As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him”, Green Man Review, U.S.A.), in collaboration with renowned Tyneside poet Keith Armstrong (“A fine poet… he is one of the best”, Adrian Mitchell), produced by award-winning producer Iain Petrie and featuring contributions from a range of notable guest musicians.
Epic in scope and scale, hugely ambitious and highly original, Mad Martins is a unique performance, recording and book project featuring original songs, music, poetry, spoken word narration and illustrations depicting the extraordinary lives and times of the notorious Martin Brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late eighteenth century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland.
Eldest brother, William was the self-styled “Philosophical Conquerer of all Nations”, a doggerel poet, pamphleteer, engraver and inventor. Like his younger brothers, he aspired to be a ‘Renaissance Man’ and aimed for the “defeat of learned humbugs”.
Jonathan Martin has gone down in history as “the notorious incendiary” of York Minster. Frequent fits of rage against the clergy, including an attempt to assassinate the Bishop of Oxford led to his committal to several lunatic asylums, from which he escaped twice, before setting fire to York Minster in 1829, for which he was again committed to Bedlam, where he later died.
John, the youngest, was, like his brother William, an all-rounder, devising sewage schemes for London, along with a number of other inventions but is most famous for his epic New Romantic paintings of Biblical scenes. One of these, ‘Pandemonium’, based on Milton’s ‘End Of The World’, sold in 2003 for a record £1.65 million.
Mad Martins is released on Whippet Records (cat. no. WPTCDB24) in 2018, as a 50-track triple CD by Gary Miller with Keith Armstrong, Iain Petrie & Friends; house in a lavishly-packaged 104-page deluxe book, beautifully designed by highly acclaimed artist and illustrator Helen Temperley. The book contains lyrics to all the songs, poems and spoken word pieces, with additional inter-linking text and many beautiful images, including paintings, engravings, sketches, illustrations and original artwork, further enhancing the story.
A companion piece CD Fair Flowers Among Them All (The ‘Mad Martins’ Instrumentals) (WPTCD25) is also available.
A Mad Martins stage show in three acts is currently being planned which will feature specially-made period costumes, props, and set design, accompanied by a pit orchestra of specially selected musicians, amid a projected backdrop of stunning visual images, all of which will contribute towards bringing the whole story of the Martins to life.
In the meantime, look out for news of special launch events coming soon.
Project website: www.mad-martins.co.uk