Meet the band!

Doctor Chocolate is...

Gavin Lazarus – Vocalist

Gavin Lazarus – Vocalist

Gavin has been performing professionally since he was 17, fronting all sorts of rock, pop, jazz, swing and big bands, combining his innate showmanship with smooth and soaring vocals and an impressive range. Gavin is much in demand as a singer, guitarist and compere all over the country and hosts his unique rat pack style swing cabaret show. Gavin’s recent, self-penned CD ‘On My Uppers’ is receiving high praise, with Radio 2’s Dave Aylott saying “I was particularly impressed by his range and breath control – Sinatra would have been proud.”  Gavin can also described as a walking Juke Box as his repertoire and vocal range spans many genres and music styles.

Sarah – Vocalist for...

Sarah – Vocalist for Wedding Band Doctor...

Sarah is the female vocalist for Doctor Chocolate as well as being the band Manager and Organiser so she will be your first point of contact when you ring / email to find out more about the band.  Sarah has been with Doctor Chocolate since 2001!   Previously Sarah had been part of a duo and also had gone out as a solo performer playing keyboards/vocals in hotels, holiday camps and clubs.  However, the Chocs called and Sarah soon found herself among a bunch of musicians who were great fun to work with and she’s never looked back.

You won’t have to worry about any aspect of your entertainment once you make the call to Sarah – having previously worked as a Wedding Coordinator for a number of years she has had responsibility for organising hundreds of weddings from start to finish.  Added to this her experience of running events and charity fundraisers (raising over £58,000 for CLIC Sargent) Sarah has a clear understanding of how everything works and is happy to help with any aspect of your event.

Sarah also runs her own wedding and events catering business in her vintage Citroen H Van which is themeable to the client and can be adapted to supply ice-creams, boozy sorbets, champagne & Pimms bar, mobile bar, coffee/tea and cupcakes:  The Toot Sweets Van  In addition Sarah manages the administration, website and paperwork for BrassWindFix a brass and Woodwind repair business in the Southwest.

As well as singing with ultimate wedding, party and covers band Doctor Chocolate, Sarah also manages and sings in a 10-piece James Bond Tribute Band: “The Name Is Band – Bond Tribute Band”.  Having the opportunity to sing such iconic songs from all the James Bond films is fantastic and really stretches those vocals!

Justin Pavey – Trombone

Justin Pavey – Trombone

Justin started playing trombone at the tender age of 11 and had reached grade 8 by the age of 15! Since then he has learnt how to play the trombone properly(??!!) Justin has been seen playing his trombone in many places including the Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall and also at Glastonbury Festival on numerous occasions! He loves the versatility the trombone offers and plays in an array of different styles from big bands to orchestral and theatre work.  Justin is also the bass trombonist for the fabulous Bruce/Ilett Big Band and was honoured to have played alongside Pee Wee Ellis at the Colston Hall this year for the Louis Armstrong Story, Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival.

Justin is also the Musical Director for Doctor Chocolate making sure all the music/dots are up-together as well as writing out parts for the brass section.  Justin spends hours working out our sets to make sure that there’s always something in there for everyone attending our events to dance/sing along to.  You’ll also get to speak to Justin if you have any queries or need help with your event as he also helps with the organisation of the band too!

By day Justin is self employed and has his own Brass and Woodwind repair and servicing business – BrassWindFix which is located in the South West area.  If you have a brass or woodwind instrument in need of repair then get in contact!

Stuart Paul – Trumpet

Stuart Paul – Trumpet

Stuart began playing at the age of 11 and by the age of 16 was principal trumpet in the Somerset Youth Orchestra. He also performed three solo concertos by Haydn, Arutunian and Bach during his sixth form years. He studied at Birmingham Conservatoire, playing in both the classical and jazz forms. Since college he has returned to the West Country where he has built up a successful playing and teaching career. He has played in the Choccies since 2001!

Stuart can also be found writing out dots for the brass section on a weekend.  If the song doesn’t already have brass in it then you can be sure that Doctor Chocolate will add some and Stuart’s great at thinking up brass lines that don’t exist – making the songs more vibrant – plus if the song doesn’t have brass it means that Stuart doesn’t have to dance about and shake his tambourine – he’d much rather be blowing his trumpet!

Steve Hacking –...

Steve Hacking – Saxophone

Steve joined the RAF at the age of 17 and has been a professional musician since this time.  He can play saxophone, clarinet and flute and is in a couple of original bands as well as Doctor Chocolate.  Steve is the saxophone tutor for the South West Youth Wind Sinfonia and also Conductor of the North Somerset Jazz Orchestra.  Steve’s favourite chocolate bar is a curly wurly!

Steve also writes out lots of the music for the brass section.  If there’s a song that doesn’t have brass in it – then Doctor Chocolate will add it to ensure a full and vibrant performance.  If Steve isn’t playing sax on stage for any numbers then check out his tambourine action and dance moves!  You can also see Steve’s 3 note Saxophone solo on our facebook page – awesome playing!  Although you may want to skip the video of his cheerleading….. or maybe not – definitely worth a viewing to cheer you up!

Paul Newton – Bass

Paul Newton – Bass

Paul, Bass Player extraordinaire! Paul began his playing career aged 17. He joined forces with the legendary Gary Moore’s brother Cliff in a band called Stage Fright! Paul continued to focus on original material with various bands up until 1998 when he joined Doctor Chocolate. Prior to this Paul has made numerous appearances and has been featured on the rock channel VH1 in a previous band that had been named European unsigned band of the year! He has also appeared in Europe’s biggest selling guitar magazine “Guitarist”.

Johnny Rackham – Drummer

Johnny Rackham – Drummer

Johnny was born in Morcombe in Lancashire and started playing drums at the age of 9. He has played for some top brass bands such as Ferry Engineering and Leyland Vehicles. Johnnie studied music at Salford College Manchester and studied percussion with John Moates, Symphonist of the Halle Orchestra and he rehearsed with them regularly. Johnny is a freelance musician and has been since the age of 17 playing with artists such as Norman Wisdom, Frankie Vaughan, Cannon an Ball, Jimmy Cricket, Jim Bowen to name but a few. He has done pantomimes and shows all over the country. Joining the RAF as a musician from 1983 until 1999 Johnny has travelled the world and has had trips with Her Majesty the Queen. Since leaving the RAF Johnny is now a Lecturer of Music at a local college and a gigging musician. Johnny has 3 children Sam, Dave & Otis – as well as a goldfish! Johnny likes playing with the chocs as he never knows whats gonna happen next!

Graham Nicholls – Guitar

Graham Nicholls – Guitar

Graham joined Doctor Chocolate in 2017 and has been on the music scene in the South West area for a fair few years now.  Graham is in demand as the guitarist of choice for most of the top bands in the South West area and Doctor Chocolate are delighted that he has agreed to join us full time as our newest band member!  He is THE most awesome guitarist and you have to hear/see his solos to believe just how great a guitarist Graham is!  He is married to a saxophonist so this is also handy in case our regular guy isn’t able to make an event due to holidays etc!  A truly musical family with their children also having music in their genes and fast becoming amazing musicians too!  Soon they will be able to set up their own awesome family band and get some gigs in but in the meantime…. Graham is a valued member of the Doctor Chocolate family.

 

*Image by Andrew Thompson

Barry Thomas – Keys

Barry Thomas – Keys

Barry is the latest addition to Doctor Chocolate –  joining us in 2013 and we’re really glad we’ve nabbed him before anyone else did!  Barry grew up in Manchester and studied classical piano but also had lessons for organ, keyboards and trombone.  For a short time Barry played in a few brass bands too!  However, piano and keys were his passion and at the tender age of 15 he started playing in the local clubs – thrown in the deep end and immediately backing touring cabaret acts quickly developing his sight-reading skills! That must have been a quick learning curve and a bit of an eye opener for a teenage boy! It wasn’t long before Barry started working in resident bands in the Manchester area before jetting off and touring the Med and exotic Caribbean islands on cruise ships.  Having just finished a 10 year residency in the South West working 7 nights a week for a holiday resort Barry was looking to join a fabulous function band working on a regular basis (but thankfully its not 7 nights a week – phew!) and now enjoys his weekends with Doctor Chocolate performing at weddings, parties, college balls, proms, charity fundraisers and corporate events all over the UK