Nicholas “Nick” Beggs (born 15 December 1961 in Winslow, Buckinghamshire) is an English musician, noted for playing the bass guitar and the Chapman Stick; he is a member of The Mute Gods and Kajagoogoo, formerly also a part of Iona and Ellis, Beggs, & Howard.
His parents were Herby and Joan Beggs, and he has a younger sister, Jacqueline. Nick’s father left when he was young but came back into his life at a later age. In November 1979, Beggs’ mother died of cancer, leaving him to care for his sister, who was then 15. He took a job as a dustman upon leaving school.
Nick’s daughter Lula was born 29 May 1991 and his first marriage to Eleni Gagoushi ended in 1994. He had another daughter, Willow Beggs, in 2002 with his girlfriend Ann Staniford, whom he married in 2003. He is now also stepfather to Ann’s children Olivia (1993), Twins : Jake and Callum Keenan (1996). Nick currently lives in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
Beggs was a pescetarian for a while and currently is a vegetarian due to his rejection of the livestock industry.
Beggs’ first band Johnny and the Martians (formed when he was 10) consisted of two friends on trumpet and acoustic guitar and Beggs on drums. He went to Linslade Secondary School. After attending art school, in 1978 Beggs formed the band Art Nouveau, with Steve Askew, Stuart Croxford Neale and Jez Strode. Chris Hamill (Limahl) joined the band in 1981 and at Beggs’ suggestion it was renamed Kajagoogoo. The release of the first single, “Too Shy”, in January 1983 saw the band on a promotional tour as the record reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart.
After firing lead singer Limahl and, following a split with Strode, the three remaining band members reformed as ‘Kaja’.
Between 1985 and 1987, Beggs concentrated on writing with various other songwriters and finally formed Ellis, Beggs, & Howard in March 1987. Ellis, Beggs and Howard split in 1989, and in 1990 Beggs joined the progressive folk band, Iona. He recorded two albums with them, The Book of Kells and Beyond These Shores.
He continued working with various artists and bands including Alphaville, Belinda Carlisle, Emma Bunton (on her album Life in Mono) and Led Zeppelin’s former bass player, John Paul Jones. In 1996, Beggs met Howard Jones on a flight from the United States and a friendship was established. Jones invited Beggs to tour as part of his band. Beggs has also worked with bands and artists such as ABC, Celtus, China Crisis, Cliff Richard, Cozi, Curiosity Killed The Cat, D:Ream, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gary Numan, Go West, Howard Jones, Keke, Kim Wilde, Maddy Prior, Mark Shaw, Midge Ure, Nena, Nick Heyward, Nik Kershaw, Polysics, Rick Wakeman, Right Said Fred, Seal, Stefano Ianne, Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, T’Pau, Terl Bryant, Then Jerico, Tina Turner, Tom McRae, Tony Hadley, Toyah Willcox, Troy Donockley and Warren Cuccurullo.
Beggs went on to work as an Artists and repertoire manager for Phonogram Records, where he worked for eight months. He later became a contributor to various guitar publications, and is now a staff writer for Bass Guitar magazine. He is also a Patron of London-based guitar and bass school, Guitar-X.
He has recorded and released two solo albums and an EP: *”Stick Insect” (2002) & “The Maverick Helmsman” (2004) *Stick Enterprises, as well as *”The Darkness Inside Mens Hearts”, 2014 Burning Shed: a compilation of the solo Chapman Stick pieces from his two earlier albums, with 2 newly recorded Chapman Stick-based songs that bookend the releases.
Beggs and Askew have been heavily involved with a new duo called Industrial Salt, who have been successful in Japan. They have also written material for Claudia Mills, a finalist on the BBC TV talent show, Let Me Entertain You.
A reformed Kajagoogoo with Beggs, Askew and Croxford Neale toured in 2004. Since then Limahl and Strode have both rejoined and the band has toured extensively over Europe in 2008 and 2009.
In February 2013, Beggs’s project, Lifesigns, with John Young and Frosty Beedle, released a self-titled album.
As of 2011, Beggs is a member of Steven Wilson’s touring band, having also played in Wilson’s albums, Grace For Drowning, The Raven That Refused to Sing & 41/2′ Hand. Cannot. Erase.. He also became a member of the band Fish On Friday from Belgium, who released an album named Godspeed at the end of 2014. He also contributed to John Mitchell’s solo project Lonely Robot, which released the album Please Come Home in February 2015 as well as appearing on the Spectral Mornings EP with David Longdon (Big Big Train), Christina Booth (Magenta), Rob Reed, Nick D’Virgillo (Spocks Beard/Big Big Train) and Steve Hackett (Genesis).
Nick’s latest collaboration is called The Mute Gods, with Marco Minneman and Roger King, with an album released in January 2016, Do Nothing till You Hear from Me.
Beggs’ primary instruments are Chapman Stick and bass guitar. His bass guitars include a Spector USA Series Coda 5 5-String with Aguilar humcanceling pickups, Euro 4LX 4-String with EMG P/J active pickups, USA NS-5H2 Bolt-On Fretless Bass (strung with roundwound strings) and Legend5 Classic 5-String Fretless Bass (strung with flatwound strings), Tanglewood acoustic bass and a Fender Jazz fretless, a prototype Ashbory bass, a five-string Wal bass (modified by Beggs to include a midi pick-up enabling him to trigger synths), an Aria SB, a Kramer, a Music Man Stingray, and a Rickenbacker 4003 FG
He has also significantly modified a Chapman Stick to a fully MIDI-capable instrument triggering MIDI from both bass and melody strings. He has named this the “Virtual Stick”. He uses a DigiTech Bass Driver Overdrive/Distortion, TC Electronic Classic Series TC XII Phaser, Boss AB-2 2-way Selector for switching between Bass & Stick signal paths, TC Electronic RH450 bass amp with both RS210 and RS212 as well as EBS 4×10″ cabinets on the 2016 Steven Wilson Tour Dates, finishing off with both Spector and Rotosound strings & Dunlop picks. On tour with both Steve Hackett as well as Steven Wilson, Beggs has also showed that he is a fine guitar player if the need arises, as well as adding keyboard player to his CV while Wilson thrashes around playing quite adept basslines.
Ellis, Beggs and Howard
“Big Bubbles No Troubles” – RCA PB 42089 – June 88 – # 59 UK
“Bad Times” – RCA PB 42041 – August 88
“Where Did Tomorrow =====================8
“Big Bubbles No Troubles” remix – RCA PB 42089 – February 89 – # 41 UK
“Big Bubbles No Troubles” remix – RCA PB 42788 – April 1989
Homelands – RCA – 1988
The Lost Years Volume One – available from Nick Beggs website
The Lost Years Volume Two – again, available from Nick Beggs website as of February 2010
Lifesigns – Esoteric Antenna – 2013
“Stick Insect”, 2002 CD Stick Enterprises
“The Maverick Helmsman”, 2004 CD Stick Enterprises
“The Darkness Inside Mens Hearts”, 2014 Burning Shed: a compilation of the solo Chapman Stick pieces from his two albums, “Stick Insect” (2002) and “The Maverick Helmsman” (2004) with 2 newly recorded songs bookending the release.
With other artists
With Steve Hackett
Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth, 2009
Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, 2011
Live Rails, 2011
Genesis Revisited II, 2012
With Steven Wilson
Grace For Drowning, 2011
Catalog / Preserve / Amass (live), 2012
Get All You Deserve (live), 2012
The Raven that Refused to Sing, 2013
Drive Home, 2013
Hand. Cannot. Erase., 2015
With Lonely Robot (i.e. John Mitchell)
Please Come Home, 2015
With The Mute Gods
Do Nothing till You Hear from Me (2016)