The Over­tones mourn the loss of drug-driven Timmy.

Gulf Times Community - - FRONT PAGE - By Ge­of­frey Row­lands

The last few months have been a dif­fi­cult pe­riod for UK vo­cal group The Over­tones. On April 9, lead singer Timmy Mat­ley fell to his death from the 13th floor bal­cony of a friend’s apart­ment in Po­plar, east Lon­don.

“We were in shock,” ad­mit­ted bass singer Lachie Chap­man. “We couldn’t be­lieve we would never again be with him. He was just 36. Ev­ery­one who knew Timmy loved him. He was such a spe­cial per­son, our Ir­ish an­gel.”

Timmy had been di­ag­nosed with stage three ma­lig­nant melanoma skin cancer in 2016. He spoke openly about his ill­ness and treat­ment. But he had re­sponded well to treat­ment and his death had noth­ing to do with the cancer. Sadly, for all of the qual­i­ties which made him so pop­u­lar, Timmy was fool­ish enough to dab­ble in drugs. It was this which led to his death.

Timmy ar­rived at his friend’s home af­ter tak­ing the Class A drug crys­tal meth. Un­der the in­flu­ence of this nar­cotic, Timmy some­how found him­self locked out on the bal­cony. He at­tempted to climb down to the bal­cony be­low, some­thing he cer­tainly wouldn’t have done if the drug was not in his sys­tem. He lost his grip and died from what was de­scribed as mul­ti­ple trau­matic in­juries.

At the time, his band­mates an­nounced Timmy’s death on their so­cial me­dia web­pages ex­press­ing their shock and sad­ness. But in their own words, they “hid un­der a rock” for some while be­fore de­cid­ing to re­sume their ca­reer with a self­ti­tled al­bum which would ef­fec­tively pay trib­ute to their de­ceased col­league.

“It was very hard,” ad­mit­ted falsetto singer Dar­ren Ever­est. “But we felt like we couldn’t just quit. We’d had an amaz­ing eight years to­gether since we signed our record deal and got such a big hit with our de­but al­bum, Good Ol’ Fash­ioned Love. If we’d given up, it would have just com­pounded Timmy’s death. We owed it to him and our fans to move for­ward as best we could.”

Timmy, Dar­ren and mid­dle har­mony singers Mark Franks and Mike Crawshaw had per­formed to­gether for many years. They were in a vo­cal group called DYYCE and then Lexi Joe with whom they au­di­tioned for the X Fac­tor tele­vi­sion tal­ent show in 2009. They were elim­i­nated at the fi­nal 24 stage but later met Lachie and re­formed as a five-piece band un­der their cur­rent name.

Dar­ren had the idea of start­ing a paint­ing and dec­o­rat­ing com­pany so they could prac­tice to­gether while work­ing. The boys were paint­ing a shop in Lon­don when they were heard by a Warner Bros. Records tal­ent scout who signed them to a five-al­bum con­tract.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Mike re­flected. “Get­ting our record deal was ev­ery­thing we could pos­si­bly have hoped for.”

Their first four al­bums all made the UK top ten. The mix of orig­i­nal songs and pop­u­lar covers earned The Over­tones a large and loyal fol­low­ing. Only their fifth al­bum, a col­lec­tion of Christ­mas songs, failed to make a ma­jor im­pres­sion on the charts and even this still reached number 24.

The boys had al­ready be­gun work on al­bum number six be­fore Timmy died. So it is that hav­ing gained per­mis­sion from his fam­ily, Timmy’s voice is heard along­side his band­mates on the new al­bum.

“We feel like we planted the seeds of this al­bum with Timmy,” Mark stated. “It’s like he’s been with us through­out the whole jour­ney. Mak­ing the record has also been part of our griev­ing process. We wanted to cre­ate some­thing which would make Timmy and our fans proud.”

“We’ve de­lib­er­ately in­cluded a mix of tracks,” Lachie added. “It would have been very easy to record noth­ing but sad songs. But we knew Timmy wouldn’t have wanted that. So, there are some songs to put a smile on your face and even get you up danc­ing.

“We’re very proud of the al­bum. It’s a trib­ute to Timmy and means the world to us. We hope it will also mean some­thing spe­cial to our fans.”

NO MORE: Timmy Mat­ley, cen­tre, with his fel­low band mem­bers from The Over­tones.

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