- Published in General
Looking for a “ Gig “ moving to London October 1969
I arrived at a friend's flat in Muswell Hill with my Fender Jazz base in my hand, a copy of the Bakerloo album a white sunbeam alpine sports car
and terminal " acne & ego "
I met a drummer Tony Newman, who asked me to form a heavy metal trio with a Canadian guitarist Jimmy Black we called the group May Blitz.
The owner of the flat that I was " crashing at " was an artist called Tony Benyon.
He later created a cartoon character based on yet another band name that I had dreamed-up.
The May Blitz grotesque cartoon character was featured for many years in the Melody Maker Magazine the rock n Roll Bible of the day.
This " head banging heavy metal" music trio was not for me. Having secured a record deal with vertigo records my replacement was a fellow Canadian friend of Jimmy's who shared the same musical ideology, whatever that was!!
Winter of 1969
A catastrophic tour of military bases in West Germany ( Wiesbaden etc) followed by a two week residency at a night club in Neuchatel Switzerland then onto Zurich.
The May Blitz Tour ended at a Swiss- German border town were we had to sell all our equipment and musical instruments to pay a fine to the German Boarder Police after the van was dismantled and we were all " strip searched "
I won't go into the infraction as I wouldn't like to " grass " Jimmy up!!
Rod Lynton ( guitar ) was the founder member of Rupert's People and John Tout ( keyboards )were all that were left of the band when I joined.
I recorded a couple of tracks with them for the album " The Magical World of Rupert's People"
Reflecting being one of them.
They had an excellent practice room in the basement of a large detached house in St John's Wood owned by a Mr Miles Axe Copeland Snr.
Miles Copeland junior was the manager of Rupert's People and his mom and dad let us run amuck in the basement studio.
Stuart Copeland played drums and we all set off to Paris for a summer tour of France.
The Revolution Club Paris was the first gig followed by a 12 hour drive down to St Tropez for
a two week residency at the local night club and then onto another club in Hyeres for a further fortnight.( South of France )
The gruelling drive back to Paris to another gig at the Revolution Club was as much as Rod could stand. So on returning to London, Rod quit his own group!
Auditioning a replacement for
An ad in the " musicians wanted " section of the Melody Maker brought a procession of talent to the Miles Copeland's front door.
Gordon Giltrap being the most outstanding player to audition for the job.
A super guitarist called Les Nicol from Hull was another guitar player looking for a " spot ".
Finally we gave up on the Rupert's People re branded, as neither John me nor Stuart had any idea of what Rupert's People without Rod Lynton were trying to create?
John Tout's mom had a spare room free in Lamble Street Gospel Oak so I became the lodger for a few weeks in September 1970.
Ed Bicknell a drummer and "student booking agent" asked us if we would form the backing trio for Jess.
John Tout keyboard
Terry Poole bass guitar / vocals
Ed Bicknell drums
Northern Night Club Tour
It was a lot of fun being on stage with Jess.
He was a lovely guy who had Hollywood film star looks. The mainly middle aged ladies that flocked to see him at the Brighouse and Morecombe shows all threw their " big pants at him " to autograph.
In later years John Tout became the keyboard player with Renaissance and Ed found fame and fortune as the manager of Dire Straights.
Tony Scott & Ike Cole
A Trip to Naples
An advertisement in the melody maker for a dance band bassist prepared to travel to Italy attracted my attention. I needed to get to France to drop a French girlfriend off along the way.
The band leader a sax player whose name I can't recall travelled ahead with his girlfriend the band's vocalist, in his maroon jaguar.
The 5 piece backing band of which I was one, travelled behind with our instruments in an old transit van.
The main gig was at the NATO base in Naples however we stopped off at a smaller military base in Pisa on the way down to perform a couple of warm up nights.
The head line acts at the NATO base were Tony Scott/ Clarinet and Ike Cole.( Nat King Cole's brother )
After 4 weeks of Tony's rendition on the clarinet of " When the Saint's Go Marching " and Ike's version of " When I fall in love " it was time to return to home.
This is why I can't recall the name of the band leader as he vanished in his Jag with the "gig money" and we the backing band had to busk our way back to London.
Little Free Rock
Answering another " musicians wanted " in the Melody Maker Ads late in 1970 Pete Illingworth
lead guitarist with the above not only took me on, but took me in!!
The house that Pete rented in Sydenham
was were all the band lived and the practice room was in the cellar below.
My first rehearsal with LFR had two or three West African percussionists jamming along!! Great !!
An extremely understanding landlord and neighbours? !!
I was very pleased to help Pete gain a recording/ agency deal with the William Morris Agency in Saville Row.
Pete has a terrific web site with lots of information about gigs at that period.
Any musician living in London and on the " circuit " should recall them all!!
Having read Pete's diary I realised why I moved on from LFR.
The rent on the house was left unpaid for a year. I guess we were all evicted.