World Class Sleepers
ACOUSTIC ROCK - from New Plymouth, New Zealand
Yardley Barwood: Drums, Percussion, Piano, Keys and Bass
Liam Tranter: Guitar, Bass, Fairy Bells, Toilet Spray, Irish Whistle & vocals on "Hideaway"
Tony Levin: Bass (on "Hug Your Pet" EP)
An unlikely songwriting partnership formed in New Plymouth, New Zealand. The principal players, Yardley Barwood and Liam Tranter met by chance in a doctor's office.
Liam, in his spare time, practices family medicine and it came to pass that Yardley, suffering from his usual neurotic panic, wanted yet another opinion on the state of his prostate gland. A recent Discovery Channel documentary on the subject had shaken him to the core. It would be the fifth appointment at his local Well Man Clinic that week and Liam was the last doctor on his list to visit.
After temporary reassurance that his prostate was indeed not diseased, Yardley lingered on the examination table in a state of euphoric relief and somehow the topic of music making came up. The seeds of World Class Sleepers were thus sown. But it would be months later before germination would commence . . .
Yardley Barwood, a world weary veteran of itinerant travel, had sought refuge from his paranoid world view and came to settle in the greener grass of isolated provincial New Zealand. It was inevitable that New Zealand would be his destination due to a lifelong infatuation of all things "sheep". Indeed Yardley's first conscious loss was that of his lambskin "comfort blanket" as a 13 year old. Yardley had needed its woolen warmth to lull him to sleep from birth and it was a loss he has not yet overcome.
A lifetime later, he arrived strung out, overly caffeinated, and overtly emaciated in New Zealand. Unfortunately, lack of research on his part resulted in him gravitating to a dairy cow dominated landscape where undeterred he breathed a sigh of relief in the crisp clean air and dropped out of the rat race.
For weeks on end, he lost himself in solo percussion and the art of music making. Ablution slackened as he remained oblivious to the funk and grime fermenting around him in the cramped windowless studio - the gloom barely illuminated by the flickering of his inseparable Mac's screen. At times he would venture nocturnally into the sleeping neighborhood, his face hidden behind a favorite sheep mask. For months this was the closest he came to broader human contact.
One fateful day after another medication resistant insomniac viewing of a Discovery Channel documentary on heart disease, Yardley immediately suffered chest pains. The panic of self preservation drove him to reach out for help, a phone call was made to his doctor's office and an urgent home visit made by the on-call Liam. The pair's fateful second meeting resulting in World Class Sleepers' growth spurt.
To this day Liam still recalls the palpable stale odor of Yardley's tomblike studio with a shudder. "It was unbelievably hideous, a stench that will remain with me to the grave" he has been quoted.
Liam terminated Yardley's panic attack with a few reassuring words and had him breathe into a floor strewn fungus frilled paper bag plucked from the accumulated detritus. Liam rescued the guitar exposed beneath and played a self composed melody. Yardley's whimpering slowly settled under the soothing tonic of the strummed instrument; revitalized he fumbled maniacally for some drumsticks and the pair jammed the day away.
Eventually, Yardley's paranoia eased and he tolerated the intrusion of another human into his personal space. An odd couple friendship soon developed, a shared passion for surfing was discovered and over time, an eclectic mix of acoustic percussive pop/rock instrumental tunes tempered with shades of hip-hop, progressive rock, and other various flavoring accumulated.