For bassist Joseph “Bearclaw” Burcaw, sharing the stage with Irish rockers Black 47 was a fairy tale dream come true. “I used to go see the guys perform as a fan when I was in college”. “Now, I still need to pinch myself that I was an official member of one of my favourite bands.” “I was very blessed to be surrounded by 5 of the most talented musicians in the industry”. Bearclaw, a twisted version of his surname given by band mates for his muscular lock down lines and feel was drawn to the ominous sounds of the bass from an early age. His influences run the gamit, ranging from 80′s pioneers John Taylor, Sting and Muzz Skillings, to prog. funk rock players Geddy Lee and Bernard Edwards. In 2001 Burcaw moved to New York after a 6 month stay in London touring and performing with his former band Azurtech. This group was being promoted by John Taylor of Duran Duran fame. Taylor would take Burcaw’s group under his wing, helping promote and sell their music thru his own personal website at the time, www.trusttheprocess.com. It opened them up to a huge spectrum of Duran Duran fans world wide, garnering gigs in the northeast and in Europe. Due to unforeseen circumstances the group was short lived and broke up while residing in London.
Not being one to dwell on the past, Burcaw made the decision of moving to Brooklyn New York, continuing his pursuit of making it as a professional musician. “I gave myself a 5 year plan of action to abide by”. “If nothing musical happened for me by the time the 5 year mark came up, I would have to seriously re-evaluate what I was doing with my life, and go to plan B, whatever that was”. Burcaw would take the next five years breaking into the downtown scene networking and playing with anyone and everyone who was available. “There were times I would stay out until 4 in the morning watching bands perform at The Bitter End, Bottom Line and CBGB’s just to name a few”. “I would approach band leaders and singers handing them my business card stating that they need to have me in their band if they were to reach any amount of success”. “This was a very audacious thing to say in hindsight, but most people were willing to give me a shot, I suppose the over confidence was a good selling point for me”.
During the late summer of 2006 Burcaw answered an ad in the classifieds for an established professional touring band who was looking for a bass player. Having forgotten about the advert, a week later he received a message on his voicemail that would change his musical life forever.
“Hammy (Thomas Hamlin) called me using a pseudonym to disguise himself and the band’s identity, which was pretty clever actually”. He was interested in hearing my playing, so I put together a decent press-kit and sent it out for him to take a listen to”. It would be a few weeks before Burcaw would hear back from Hammy, and when he would discover that the band was actually Black 47. “My mouth dropped when Ham told me who he was, and for which band he played with”. “I knew from that point on my mission was to win these guys over”. “We made arrangements for me to come down and audition in late October, and the rest is history”. Burcaw held down the bass position for Black 47 close to a decade. Now with B47 in retirement he focuses on his solo bass ambient music, Jimi Hendrix tribute band “#JimiForever”, and Steely Dan influenced group “Mascot’s Distance”.