I don`t know much about the bands that the members of 10cc were in before they joined together in 10cc. But I wonder if the connection between Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman was made for the first time through this band? That`s an assumption, but a fairly reasonable one. The drummer, Paul Hancox, later played on some albums with Chicken Shack, a British blues band responible for several albums throughout the years and who should also be fairly well known.
`Benders surprised by `Letter` hit
they tell Norrie Drummond
I was chatting the other day to three young men – an interior designer, a 16-year-old drummer and the manager of a men`s hairdressing saloon. We were talking about their record “The Letter” at No. – in this week`s NME Chart.
The designer was Eric Stewart; the manager of the hairdresser’s was Bob Lang and the drummer was Paul Hancox. Together they’re the Mindbenders.
“Well, here we are back again with our annual hit,” said Bob cheerfully. Not that the Mindbenders expected it would be a hit.
“We were really surprised when we heard it was in the chart,” added Eric. “We thought it was a good record but not really quite right at this time.”
“Mind you this is the first record Graham Gouldman has produced for us,” said Bob, “and he did a great job. Just wait till you hear our follow-up.
“Graham wrote and produced the record. He’s very talented.
“I wouldn’t have said ‘The Letter’ would have been a hit but I’m almost certain the next one will be.”
In the past few months since we last met, Bob, Eric and the group’s former drummer Ric Rothwell have all branched into other businesses far removed from the pop scene.
Bob in partnership with a friend from Manchester has opened a men’s hairdressing business, while Eric is busy designing people’s homes.
Were they, then, planning to retire from pop completely like Ric? “Oh, no, not at all,” said Bob emphatically. ” We still enjoy playing gigs.”
Although the Mindbenders haven’t had a hit for a year, they have kept on earning as much as when they have had a record in the chart.
“We still live fairly comfortably,” said Eric, “and apart from what we earn as a pop group we also have an income from our other interests.”
As members of the old school of pop music, Bob and Eric have seen many phases come and go in the five years they’ve been playing together.
“I think the whole scene is so unexciting nowadays,” said Bob, gravely. “Everything has changed. Even the fans are different nowadays.
“When we used to play concert tours with people like Herman’s Hermits or Freddie and the Dreamers — they were always great fun, and everyone got on well together. The kids would be screaming out front, and everyone really enjoyed themselves.”
“But the audiences now are so sophisticated,” added Eric. “There are very few groups who get screamed at now.”
Throughout our conversation the Mindbenders’ new drummer Paul Hancox sat quietly listening to the other two. “He’s too young to remember those days,” said Bob, nudging Paul, “He’s just a lad.”
I asked him if he had any interests outside the group. “No, I’m too theeck,” he replied in a heavy Birmingham accent. Bob and Eric howled with laughter. “You mean ‘thick,'” Bob told him. “Not ‘theeck.'”
As they rose to leave I asked them what they liked about the pop scene now. “There are still many exciting things in pop,” said Bob.
“Don’t get the idea that we’re old men decrying modern youth. There is so much talent about at the moment, but somehow all the fun and glamour has disappeared.”