Dragons' Den sounds good to me
AN ENTERPRISING musician, who grew up in Tranent, braved the heat of BBC business show Dragons" Den to score a £75,000 record deal and a shot at the big time.
Guitarist James Ingham, who lived in Edinburgh Road with parents Linda and David until leaving for university aged 18, appeared with fellow Hamfatter band members Eoin O"Mahony and Mark Ellis in BBC 2"s opening episode of the Dragons" new series on Monday.
After enduring nearly three hours of grilling by the panel of ruthless investors and performing a sample of their music, the indie group walked away with a pledge of £75,000 from hard-nosed entrepreneur Peter Jones (pictured with the group) - becoming the first band in the show"s history to win financial backing.
Former Tranent Infant School pupil James, 28, (shown wearing a hat) admits he was reluctant to appear on the show when band manager Jamie Turner first suggested the idea.
'We"d had a couple of offers from record companies but they were very restrictive,' said James, who now lives in Leith with wife Abby and baby son Dylan.
'We wanted the funding because the reality is you do need it if you"re going to be able to launch a band but we wanted it without having to sign away our souls.
'I didn"t think it was a good idea - firstly because I didn"t think there was a hope in hell that they would back a band as it had never been done before.
'And I didn"t feel it was the right way for us to launch a band. People go on these reality shows to find out if they"re any good. We"ve been around for a while now and have paid our dues.'
Despite his initial doubts, James is now ecstatic about the massive windfall, and appearing on the show has certainly opened doors for the Cambridge-based trio, who have had a top three hit in Austria and independently released three albums since forming six years ago.
Their new single, "The Girl I Love", was released this week and is now available to download on I-Tunes. They also plan to use part of Mr Jones" investment to remaster and re-release their third album, "What Part of Hamfatter Do You Not Understand?", which reached no53 in the UK charts last year.
Even with plans for a UK-wide tour, a fourth album and no doubt more television appearances underway, a very busy James has not ruled out performing a gig in his hometown in the future.
'You never know!' he laughed.
'I can ask mum and dad if they"d be willing to put a marquee up in the back garden!'
Proud mum Linda said: 'James has always had the ambition to perform in a rock band and to make it his professional career. I"m delighted for him that he has managed to do this.'
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 24 Jul 08