Serving time in Holloways

WORKING your notice before you join one of the UK s hottest guitar bands is hardly rock and roll. But The Holloways new guitarist Mike Baker didn t want to leave Dagenham s Eastbrook School in the lurch . So when he joined the band three months ago, the

WORKING your notice before you join one of the UK's hottest guitar bands is hardly rock and roll.

But The Holloways' new guitarist Mike Baker didn't want to leave Dagenham's Eastbrook School "in the lurch".

So when he joined the band three months ago, the Harold Hill 23-year-old continued his job as a technician in the music department at the Dagenham Road school and will join the band full time when the summer term ends this month.

Mike explained: "It worked out really well because our new single, Jukebox Sunshine, is out in September and so there will be lots of promotion to do, and probably a UK tour, too.

"I didn't want to let anyone down at the school, so it was great to be able to see out my contract. I was mainly working with 16 - 18-year-olds so lots of them were fans of the band and they were all really interested."

The Holloways first came on to the scene three years ago, scoring two Top 40 hits in quick succession - Two Left Feet and Generator, from the album, So This Is Great Britain. Music magazine NME placed Generator in its Top 20 tracks of 2006.

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But disaster struck when there was a fire at the house they shared in Holloway Road, north London. More than �30,000 of equipment was lost, and guitarist Dave Danger and drummer Rob Skipper decided to leave.

That left singer Alfie Jackson and bassist Bryn Fowler looking for new members so they could continue their record deal with Orchard Records.

Mike got his lucky break when guitar guru Uncle Pete, a legend in and around the guitar shops of Denmark Street, Soho, recommended him to Alfie. A quick audition later and Mike was in the band.

He explains: "It was great of Uncle Pete to think of me. I used to work with him, and hadn't long given up a job there. I was working in the shop at the weekend and five days a week at the school.

"I'm glad this has all happened when it has because I've had a regular job in between and I just appreciate it all more. I don't think I would have been ready three or four years ago."

Mike, who went to Marshalls Park School in Romford, has lived in Straight Road, Harold Hill, all his life, and his parents are originally from Canning Town. He has two older sisters, who are both big fans of The Holloways, so is particularly popular with them right now.

Mike says: "I went to Leeds University to study jazz and then stayed up there for a year or so working in a functions band playing at various parties and events."

There are plans for him, drummer Edwin D Harris, Alfie and Bryn to move into a house together as they relaunch the band.

The Holloways' new album, No Smoke No Mirrors, will be released in October.