Bill Berends bio:
Bill grew up in suburban Baltimore, Maryland during the wonder years and became interested in guitar after seeing The Beatles on TV. George was his favorite Beatle because he appeared thoughtful and concentrated more on playing rather than jumping around, so Bill got a cheap acoustic guitar, learned chords and songs, but gravitated towards riffs and solos. As a kid he once played "Money" by The Beatles over and over so many times that his mother threatened to take the record player away.
A few years later Bill heard Cream and that made him get serious about the guitar. This was some serious shit! He badgered his parents into getting him a Gibson SG. Always something of a problem child, they did, thinking it would help keep him out of trouble. It probably did. This was the golden age of rock and Berends was fully immersed in the music of the day; Cream, Hendrix, Spirit, Ten Years After, Woodstock. All this eventually led Bill to the blues, source material for the guitarists Bill so admired, and he immersed himself in the language of blues.
After playing in his own high school band for a few years, at age 17 Bill was asked to join "Cabbage", Baltimore's best known blues band of the day. Black men twice his age, his parents weren't thrilled by this, but he sure learned a lot. But a new kind of music was emerging... strange and complex and deeply weird next to the blues and rock of the day. Progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion. Bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. This took it to the next level and Bill was hooked. He practiced around the clock.
After attending art school (MICA) for a few years, Bill moved to New Jersey to be with his family who had moved on several years earlier. There he formed a band with his two brothers called TANK. Quite an ambitious effort, performing complex original progressive rock and classical music, TANK was written up in Variety Magazine for their performance at the legendary Max's Kansas City in NYC. However, by this time the punk rock era had taken hold and they were something like fish out of water. None the less, the brothers carried on.
Eventually, keyboard brother David left the band and Kim Leming (later on of RIOT fame) joined on bass to form a new power trio. Bill was pioneering in his use of guitar synthesizer and the band performed progressive rock and classic metal, some of which was later recorded as MASTERMIND. Vocalist Rich Harter (later to form HARTER ATTACK) was added to expand the repertoire and they played up and down the east coast. When Kip left to tour with Riot, TANK finally fell apart.
Around this time Bill had met the band BLACKFOOT with TANK sharing the stage as an opening act and later, renting them PA systems and doing live sound for them. Since there were troubles keeping his own band together, he took off on tour with Blackfoot as FOH soundman. Blackfoot's intensity and tightness had a lot of influence on him, but he got tired of watching and longed to play, so he left.
Back home in New Jersey, brothers Bill & Rich recruited a new bassist. Phil Antolino (one of many to come and go), and set out as MASTERMIND performing Bill's expanding repertoire of progressive rock compositions. This was the late 80's and much to their surprise, there was a growing appetite for this sort of music. Bill was featured in Mike Varney's Spotlight column in GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE and Mastermind went on to release several CD's on various indie labels. The band made something of a name for themselves internationally and toured Europe, Japan, and across the USA in the mid-90's. Jens Johansson (YNGWIE, DIO, STRATOVARIUS) was later invited to record with Mastermind and they made three albums together.
Once again, revolving bass players, economic conditions, and the decline of the recorded music market caused so many issues that keeping a live band together was problematic. There just wasn't enough money in it to support the families that had sprouted up around the members and after 20 years, Mastermind called it a day as a live performance unit. Given the right conditions, this could change. The music lives on and still gains new fans with every passing year.
Bill & Rich continue to play music locally as The Berends Brothers Band, mixing up classic rock, blues, fusion, and on occasion some Mastermind tunes. Bill was invited to join the Mahavishnu Orchestra tribute band Treasures of the Spirit led by jazz drummer G.Calvin Weston (ORNETTE COLEMAN, VERNON REID). Between these two disparate ventures, Bill keeps busy and his chops in good shape.
A new Mastermind album is currently in the works and Bill recently released a solo album of all new original rock instrumental guitar tunes called In My Dreams I Can Fly with drummer Jason Gianni (NEAL MORSE BAND). If he can figure out the economics, he hopes to get out and play this material live in the future. It's all about money. It always is. And bass players. Money and bass players.
Bill Berends, de New Jersey é um guitarrista, compositor e líder de bandas de classic heavy rock, rock progressivo e blues. Sua trajetória começa na adolescência, quando foi convidado para ser membro da melhor banda de Blues de Baltimore, a Cabbage. Em seguida, em New Jersey, forma a banda Tank com seus irmãos - uma mistura autoral de classic rock e rock progressivo, que se apresentava na célebre Max's Kansas City em Nova York.
Tank dá lugar a Mastermind, banda de rock progressivo que liderou varios anos e que conta com musicos ilustres como Jens Johansson ( Yngwie, Dio e Stratovarius). Com a Mastermind, Bill fez turnes pela Europa, Japão e EUA tocando hits dos seus vários albums de estudio e ao vivo, o que chamou a atençao da Guitar Player Magazine para a habilidade de Bill como guitarrista.
outros projetos paralelos de Bill são a The Berends Brothers Band , uma mistura de blues, classic rock e seu material solo : o album In My Dreams I Can Fly, com faixas autorais de rock instrumental e Life Cycle que traz suas experimentaçoes com guitarra, batidas e música eletrônica.