The Upfoot Blues Band 2002
at The Loxwood, Huddersfield.
It's Roy on drums. I have seen playing him for Emily Druce at Small World festival in 2008; he's rock steady. Can't remember the bass player's name but a good busker. The Guitar is a Gretsch Single Anniversary 1962 which I bought in Andy's, Denmark Street in 1996 and managed to it wear out but sold it on for drastic renovation in 2009.
Hull Truck Theatre - 2000
John Doe - Story of the Blues Stageshow.
With a cast of seventeen it was a commision for Humber Mouth Literature Festival, ending up being a three-month production with a cast of seventeen. But well worth all the effort and was critically acclaimed.
I did his support with a three piece band and it was a lot of fun.
It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.
This time at The Farm, Skegness.
Edinburgh Fringe. The outdoor stage in Princes Gardens. 2004.
I did two gigs here, one following the band on stage in the photo, and on the blues night on the following day. It bucketted down with rain and I was worried I might get electricuted with all the power stuff on stage resting on a sheet of rainwater. The crew assured me that any problem and it would all shut off. And sure enough during my second number it did! But I carried on playing acoustically, and in pied-piper-fashion, led the way for the audience to follow me into the adjoining beer tent and kept going till the crew rigged up a small PA. It was a jolly cosy night in there.
Hessle Road Angels. 2003-2007. A local outfit, we organised open mike sessions around Hull and arranged community events in the area. Keith Gay (centre) and Nick Stubbs (left).
Green Dragon, Hawes, North Yorkshire
I do love the hospitible folk from the Dales..
Great British Rythm & Blues Festival Colne, Lancashire
Boogie time at the Acoustic Stage. Many happy years playing there. In the early days I would do three gigs a day for three days.
The press shot from 2001
Two Old Gits (play the blues). 2007-2009. With Dr A.
We toured for three years doing around 90 gigs a year.
Setting up for the Jam House (Birmingham)
My warm and slinky Encore copy of a Gibson ES25 and behind it a funny little guitar I picked up from a junk shop, called a Starway. It's obviously 60's period and makes a mean electric slide sound.
A big, annual festival in Fareham, can't remember the name. (Titchfield Abbey?). Wonderful full-day affair in 2003. I particularly enjoyed the Zoot Money Big Roll Band. I'd seen him at the 100 Club a few times, but never like this. He had some great guys working with him and it took off with sparks flying, with a hundred or so of the audience dancing in front of the stage. Although, strangely, I remember absolutely nothing of my own performance that day.
With Paul Jones recording for his show on BBC Radio2. Wow, I was a nervous player in those days. Barely got away with it!
The publicity shot. 1996
At the China Blues restaurant, Camden 1998. It was a good place to practice quietly. Here with Lorenzo and Alan Ashton on Bass.
At the Blues Bar and Bistro, Dean Street, in London's Soho. With Alan Ashton on bass and Nick Shires on the kit.
Working with Michael Roach at The Assembly Rooms, Bath, during the International Guitar Festival 1999.
Part of a special blues concert at SGAE in Madrid (equivalent to our Performing Right Society). Part of the Madrid Raices Ritmo Festival, Madrid 2000.
A Press call for Fitzrovia Festival, 1997 (I know it's that year cos i'd just come back from shooting a video in France and hadn't managed to shave for two weeks, which was unusual for me in those days.
The resonator guitar is a Regal and I use it for most recordings of slide stuff and for acoustic gigs. It's mean.
During 1998 I opened a small acoustic club, called The Floorspot. It was in the basement of a Turkish restaurant in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, Central London.
After a lot of PR work it was doing o.k. nice cosy crowd a few days a week, I even plumbed my PA in.
We got the usual hungry acoustic crew there, including here Ian Siegal for hot session.
And had some great nights jamming there. I particularly enjoyed playing stand-up bass, as it's quite a physical thing. I used to take that rod down and busk in Covent Garden with a few guys some Sundays.
After about three months the proprietor found he could make oodles more money doing private parties and serving drink till four in the morning and he kept cancelling our evenings at the last moment. So we had to stop.
Stage-eye-view at the Isle of Wight Festival 1998. Blues and Roots day. What lovely weekend that was. Made me realise that the smaller festivals were the more enjoyable ones.
1999 shot at Bullfrog Blues Club, Southsea, by Jean Buscombe.
Great shot I used it on posters for years after.
The Original Elderly Brothers of Doug Eaton (right on keyboards) and Rollo played mainly duo gigs of good old Rock 'n Roll, and occasionally we got a four-piece together. Mark Dobson on bass, and the drummer is Peter Wallace. We did pubs and functions.
In a way that's how I got into finding out about the blues thing, because searching back for earlier and earlier material I ran headlong into blues coming at me in the other direction!
Before the London Years, I'd lived out in the sticks. In West Sussex for about twenty years. I'd been off the road completely for seven years (1984-1991)... well, maybe sitting-in playing bass at a few jazz jams. I'd been working hard in my other life of design and marketing, but I always kept the music going because during this time I had organised quite an impressive studio for audio and video production with the new technology appearing at the time. With this I produced commercial music and advertising productions for the new commercial radio stations which were also springing up.
In 1979 I had a phone call from a nice chap, Graham Grimshaw (left on bass) who tempted me with the promise of lots of gigs. We worked hard using modified early drum machines and produced an amazing sound with two what you might expect from five! Functions, pubs and clubs. We ate up nearly everything that was going in a 50-mile radius. The guitar is a superb example of a 1971 Fender Telecaster, and I curse the day I swapped it for a boring Squire Strat ever since!
Even I don't recognise myself here!
(I'm the one on the left.)
You can hear a few tracks recorded on a domestic cassette machine at a gig in 1980.
At this time I'd been playing bass for twelve years and considered it as my first instrument. It's the Fender Precision (1965).
I'd got quite handy with it as I'd freelanced everything from dance bands, big band, jazz ensembles, trad jazz bands, pop and funk.
The Stickiband was a function band. I wrote out most of the parts and booked good readers would could jazz around a basic framework. I don't remember ever rehearsing, sometimes a quick run through after the sound check. We often had a piano and trumpet in as well if the budget was there.
I suppose this looks terribly twee now. But the south coast centred around Brighton was a heaving mass of entertainment, and the musicians from the area were the finest I've known anywhere because of the long heritage of dance-band music catering to the hotels and holiday trade for a century. I learnt so much from working with Ken Kelly (piano). He usually played a Hammond organ at gigs. He had all the parts written out and, billed as 'the south coast's liveliest pop dance band', we could cover everything from old time dancing to current chart material and change the repertoire every night to suit from social clubs, holiday camps, and ballroom functions. I remember doing the Sussex Police Ball one year. Around 2,500 people there. The Ted Heath Band were headlining and Don Lang played some loony stuff.
Here's some tracks from a BBC Radio Brighton show in 1976
I met Hamilton King in 1969. And we spent about three years together in a band we called In Persuit Of Happiness (IPOH), which was sort of Osibisa meets Santana but on a Caribbean island. It was all original material written by Hamilton. He was originally from St. Kitts.
In the photo top left clockwise:
Don Gillies - gtr
Rollo - bass
Ralpho - timbales and things
Jim - congas and security
Ken Reynolds - kit drums
Hamilton King - hammond organ, harmonica and vocals
Playing bass for Hamilton King. London 1970.
Fender Precision 1965.
This section finishes with the begining and how some of it ended up!
I really started off as songwriter. With Peter Huckstep. (read more).
Although we did do a lot of gigs together. A two-and-a-half year residency playing twice a week at The Master Robert Hotel, Hounslow (nr Heathrow airport)
A song we wrote in 1968 and was published by Apple Corps(read more about this) has found it's way with others onto a new CD (2008) tracking the sounds of that era. You may well find it at Cherry Red Records It includes very early songs by Grapefruit, Galagher & Lyle and Iveys (later Badfinger).
Huck & Graham 1967
Forgive And Forget
Book About The World
Something May Come Of It Yet
Never Needed Anyone
Rollo during a week's songwriting week holiday at Winchelsea, E. Sussex 1966.
Peter and I actually played in rival 'groups' when we met.
His was quite cool. The Farinoes. My 'group' was right nerdy and called The Electrons.
But we did play Watford Theatre once. Probably 1964. It was a talent contest, or as you would call it these days, 'Battle of the Bands'.
We actually came second, I think. The band that came first looked and played rather like The Rolling Stones and had long hair...
I'm second from the left
The Electrons from the left:
One my first house parties.
At home entertaining my parents and their friends.
They knew how to boogie!
Guitar is a Kay. Wish I still had it!
My first band at Earsham Hall School 1963.
With Henry from Nigeria (bass)
and Kamalquat from Cambodia (drums)
I have had my own recording facilities since 1967. Sadly, I never thought to take any photos of the first set-up in my bedroom. (read more about this).
The photo here is of the first proper facility in 1982, where I recorded many jingles, beds, stings, stabs, produced voiceovers and complete radio ads.
1 - Local Radio Ads Reel
2 - The Southdown Ads
3 - Barratt Homes Music Bed
4 - Stabs, Stings and Short Beds
5 - Theme 1
6 - Theme 2
Marketing & Media. My West End London studio. 1995-1999. By this time even video production had turned digital as well as audio and graphics. So the kit got to look a lot more boring. And became even more expensive. But I could do almost anything from here.
This was my studio from 2000-2008. In Hull. All my Macs had died by this time and I had to come to grips with the realities of using Windows... argghh!
2009 brought a whole leap in technology again. You hardly need anything now. Just a good room to work from, and huge amounts of cerebal stamina. I have been very pleased with the output here as it has great acoustics with a lot of wood around the place and I use a Neuman U87 on figure-of-eight omni for almost everything. And my tried and trusted monitors. (B&W)
2014. Studio in Portsmouth. Had space to set up all my favourite kit and get serious again, now that much of technology works pretty well.