Nutz is one of the lesser known bands from the 70s, but they still released four albums that you really need to hear if you get the chance. Their first album, released around the time of this article, were a really good hard rocking album with nice harmonies. Unfortunately, despite going out with good bands on the road and a massive PR campaign in Sounds with a lot of ads being printed, it just weren`t meant to be for this fine band. But at least they found eternal fame among us connoisseurs.
Nutz! We`ve paid our dues
By Robin Katz
Since Nutz are a new band, one must find something in their make up to catch the readers` interest and hopefully their ears. Four young men from Liverpool who play hard rock is about as exciting as a three day old Wimpy. Try again. Appeal to the readers` intelligence.
Okay, now there are people who like their music and their musicians intellectual, and others that like it visual. For the intellectuals, who value groups by the number of familiar names on the back of the sleeve, Nutz are the latest studio protege`s of one John Anthony, the man who put Lindisfarne on the map and Queen on the throne. (Well, sort of anyway).
From personal knowledge, Anthony doesn`t produce bands for huge sums alone or as a favour, so count the band as something he sees great potential for. For those of you (like the oversexed J. Peel-it-off) who like a bit of the old visual, catch a glimpse of the band`s album cover. It features a rather kinky lady in a back leg shot, complete with black seamed stockings, and lace knickers. All you see are the lady`s legs, bum and two spread open arms. (Give me Robert Redford anytime). Now you have a little taste of Nutz. Move on for the main course, please.
The nucleous of the band goes back some seven years to Mick Devonport and bassist Keith Mulholland. They played in various quartet combos and eventually added vocalist Dave Lloyd. They were called Jiminy Cricket and did a one off single for MCA. Their agency kept them heavily booked through supper clubs, cabaret bids and a three month stint in Jersey playing straight pop with little originality. They also hit the working men`s clubs.
Then they became, Harpoon, added drummer John Uylett and went from performing the pop twenty to playing Free, Deep Purple, and T-Rex. Now the scene was discos, Universities, consistent shows at the Cavern, and a another stint in Jersey.
From there, it was Germany, a demo made in Liverpool, financed by the benevolent Robbie Rave and then a management signing with ex A&M men Clifford and Trengove. Their first album for A&M was ditched and then Anthony was brought in to produce a new one. Then followed a tour with Queen, and in came the first reviews. Harpoon were retitled as Nutz, a single has predictably been pulled, but it is far from the catchiest song on the album. The band are ready and prepared for the usual British reaction towards a new band and their product – nothing. Nevermind, in a couple of weeks, they`ll be back on the road again.
“We`ve never been on the dole,” began Devonport, so the record end of things is a bit different for us than it is for a strictly recording group. We can always find work. And we`ve worked every kind of gig there is to in this country. We did back ups with Spencer Davis, and this year with Queen, but support bands have a rough deal. You never get to do a sound check, whereas the lead band can spend up to two or three hours making sure things are perfect.”
The Rainbow was a nightmare for us. We went on cold. The stage is so big, and the God`s so high that the sound bloody went off and disappeared. We couldn`t hear ourselves, but that`s an old story.
“Our favourite type of gig is like the Spinning Jenny in Accrington. A large pub with room for everyone to move a bit. Like I said, the Rainbow was awful, but we`ve had some good shows like Dagenham and Croydon. Ya hardly get to know half the people you`re dealing with on big tours, though Queen are great guys. The slagging they got was unbelievable, but then, that`s what happens when you put your neck out I suppose.
“You get tough working at small clubs because it`s all in front of you. There was this one gig, in a working man`s club, where we motioned to everybody to clap along. And in the first row, sits this couple, and she looks to him and says `Do you think we should` and he whips around and says, `Neh`. That`s what it`s like.”
There is still an unexplicable curious attitude people have towards Liverpudlian bands. Using the tourist approach I asked Dave Lloyd to talk about the new Cavern, where the band frequently play.
“It`s nothing like the old place, of course. The sweat used to run down the walls, and people were always getting sick all over your PA equipment, which you just got used to. It was a stepping stone. But the new place was built to hold 1,200 and they just haven`t been able to pack a place that size out without losing the heat.”
It was at the Cavern that A&M first watched the band. In true style, Lloyd recalls vividly having to stay sober for the day, which happened to be his birthday. The band`s first album was too laid back for anyone`s liking, but then it was off to Rockfield.
“We like to attack with our music. The great thing about working with John (Anthony) is the fact that he`s just another loon like we are. He doesn`t send out orders, he pools ideas, which is the way a good boss works. He understands that things don`t always go off the way you plan them to. We`d book studio time, and if after four or five times the music wasn`t moving, we`d move onto something else. No hassles about whose money is being spent and all that.”
Having toured with Queen, and sharing the same producer made one wonder if Nutz worried about being compared with the group. “No, not at all” said Lloyd. “We`ve toured with them and have used John, but the comparison ends there. They`ve often been slagged off as a hype band and I hope no one calls us that. We`ve done enough to pay our dues, not to be written off in two sentences.”
“Mind you”, interjected Devonport, “I don`t expect a lot of people will take great notice of the record. We`d like to have a hit single, but more so to have the album do well. That`s why we deliberately picked “As Far As The Eye Can See” as the single. There`s a tune called “Round And Round” which would probably be a hit, but it`s not as representative of us as the first song.
“Ultimately, we wouldn`t latch onto the kind of people who listen to Bad Company or Golden Earring which would always give you the freedom to have good singles, but not be branded into a hole like Sweet are. And you can still play the pub scene.”
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bryan Ferry, Captain Beefheart, Jim Capaldi, Lee Jackson, Uriah Heep, Byzantium, Denny Cordell, Ronnie Lane, Blue, Genesis, Arthur Brown, Harry Chapin, Groundhogs.
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