James Toseland



James Toseland

Postby bailbath » Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:10 pm

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jVhWk2Orlu4

Congratulations to JT James Toseland for the double win at todays World Superbike race at Brands Hatch.
He also plays a mean Boogie!
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biking piano player

Postby bailbath » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:30 pm

http://www.smh.com.au/news/motorsport/f ... tml?page=2
Japan's Yamaha Corporation has been making pianos for more than 100 years - black, beautiful, majestic, eloquent grands played by the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Chick Corea, Jamie Cullum and more than a few classical pianists. Since 1955, the group's Yamaha Motor Company has been making motorbikes of every hue and horsepower, which, over the years, have been ridden by the likes of Kenny Roberts, Barry Sheene, Valentino Rossi and many boy racers. These two worlds are usually kept apart - or at least they were until James Toseland came along.

Toseland is a two-time world Superbike champion who made his way into Britain's consciousness at last year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, where he swapped his motorcycle saddle for a piano stool and riffed away with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Within the time it took for a couple of key changes, the telephone polling is said to have shot him from No.10 to No.2; he finished a close fourth, behind boxer Ricky Hatton. If only the women in the audience had known that he had also once been Cosmo centrefold of the year (to raise money for research into testicular cancer), the title may have been his.

"I never used to play in front of anybody, even family and friends," says Toseland during a pre-season test at Spain's Jerez circuit. "When you're doing 200mph [320kmh] past 100,000 people and you've got your helmet on, and obviously you've got a lot to concentrate on, it doesn't matter who's watching. But when you come out on stage and you've got 200 people just staring at you going, 'Come on, entertain us', it's a different kind of pressure. And I didn't like that at first."

Only the BBC event was held in the 10,000-seater NEC in Birmingham, and it was full of the great and the good of British sport. More than eight million were watching at home.

But there was one thing missing from that performance: his voice. Sheffield-born Toseland is lead singer as well as keyboard player for the inauspiciously named Crash, which mostly covers songs by the likes of Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses.

From this weekend, his prized possession, a Steinway grand, will be gathering dust in his Isle of Man home as these circumstances are repeated week in, week out. "I'm going to be away for 260 days. And I know exactly what I'm doing every single day from now until 1 November. It's busy, life's organised, there's not much space to fit things in." Although as many as 15 gigs have already been planned in what little downtime there is.

Toseland's decision to race in MotoGP with the Tech 3 Yamaha team was all to do with the package he was offered: the right kit and the chance to win, along with a reported £2 million, two-year deal.

His motorcycling ambitions and artistic inclinations coincided as early as June 1, 2003, the day he won his first victory in World Superbikes. As Toseland recalls in his 2005 autobiography: "The BBC had discovered that John Jones [sponsor of his HM Plant-Ducati team] had tempted me into a win with the promise that he would buy me a piano when - not, if you'll note - I had my first WSB triumph. And when I crossed the line the TV commentator hailed my victory: 'James Toseland, youngest-ever World Superbike winner, just won a piano'."

That piano turned out to be an £83,000 ($180,000), nine-foot Steinway. Will the Steinway ever come first? Well, Toseland has little need of a second revenue stream. He's already a tax exile in the Isle of Man, to which he moved from his family home just outside Sheffield. He has another home in France, and the sport has enough money in it to have propelled the five-times world champion Valentino Rossi into a top 10 of the world's richest sportsmen.

Still, you can't help thinking that for Toseland, preservation of his nimble fingers must be a factor as he races around at more than 320kmh. After all, Sheene, the winner of the world championships in 1976 and 1977, was nicknamed The Bionic Man for the number of plates holding his broken bones together. (He even had special dispensation to circumvent security gates at airports such was the metal content of his body.)

During the Jerez test laps, Toseland crashed at high speed: two X-rays and one badly sprained ankle later, he went back out on the track to clock impressive lap times. Twenty-four hours later, exhausted after a gruelling day, he was struggling to keep his weight off the obviously painful ankle.

"People often ask me if I worry that I may crash heavily enough to damage my hands so badly that I could never play the piano again," Toseland wrote in 2005. "But honestly, I never think about it. I guess it would upset me if I was hurt badly enough and, say, lost a couple of fingers or something, which meant I couldn't play. I have hit the tarmac a couple of times and taken off the end of a thumb and then smashed a bone in my hand, but never with enough damage to restrict my playing. I know some people cannot understand the parallels of being a so-called hard-case, daredevil racing motorcyclist and a pianist with a serious artistic interest in music. They don't seem to be able to twig the connection."

BBC pit-lane correspondent Suzi Perry says Toseland's mental toughness comes from his unusual upbringing. He was introduced to piano-playing by his grandmother, who taught him from about the age of six before he started to have private lessons. He was introduced to biking by Ken, his mother's boyfriend, who became a father-figure, his own father having left the family when Toseland was three. Ken nurtured much of his biking talent as well as bringing the music of Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis into his life. He was also schizophrenic and when James was only 15, in 1996, committed suicide in the family's garage. Six months later, Toseland's grandfather, another key influence in the young biker's life, died at the age of 58.
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Re: James Toseland

Postby bailbath » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:33 am

http://www.bikesportnews.com/features-d ... s-Toseland
Lone Wolf and a farewell to James Toseland
13/09/2011




By Lone Wolf

DEAR JAMES...

It was with mixed emotions that I read about your decision to retire. Sad that we won't see your combative style any more; glad that you have survived a dangerous sport relatively unscathed despite a number of severe accidents.

I wonder how you feel? Happy with your world titles; with being, in recent years, the most famous bike racer in the UK; with a career spanning some 15 years at the top. Or a tad unfulfilled because you still believe you could have made it in MotoGP but didn't have the luck, the machinery or the time?

Well James, it should certainly be the former. Two World Superbike titles make you one of the WSB greats alongside the likes of Carl Fogarty. But it was your performance on the piano at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year which introduced you, and motor cycle racing, to an audience which was previously not aware of its existence.

And having someone, or something, call time on a career is sometimes no bad thing. Sportsman find it particularly difficult to call it a day and often outstay their welcome. Were it not for the injury you might well have believed you had another world title in you. And maybe you had.

You now have the prospect of forging a new career, one that you have been working at for some time. Music. As a player and a composer. And as someone who is more than capable of playing the beautiful melodies of Gershwin or knocking out a passable imitation of Jerry Lee Lewis plus writing material for your own album then you have a lot going for you.

As the great Mike Hailwood, himself a great music lover who tickled the ivories occasionally, once said after listening to one of his favourites who ranged from Barber to Bach:"I'd have given up all this motorbike stuff to be able to play music like that."

So there you are James. It'll be nice to see you again - whether it be Higham Ferrers village hall or the Albert Hall. And occasionally in the paddock. Good luck.
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