Uriah Heep

ARTICLE ABOUT Ken Hensley FROM SOUNDS, February 10, 1973

Always underestimated by critics, the members of Uriah Heep found trouble finding good reviews on their solo albums as well.


Album Review:

Ken Hensley: “Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf”
(Bronze ILPS 9223).

By Steve Peacock

Uriah Heep is a band I`ve never really found very interesting, but this solo album by Ken Hensley is easy enough on the ear. It`s basically a record of songs – fairly simple songs fairly simply arranged, with just Dave Paul and Gary Thain (basses) and Lee Kerslake (drums) with Hensley on the sessions. I don`t think most of the songs are very distinguished – though I do like the first track “When Evening Comes” and the title track -and I don`t particularly enjoy his singing, but the album does have a nice feeling to it and I enjoy hearing it in some moods. The pace is generally slowish, and he usually uses acoustic guitar as a base, with the rhythm section, laying over electric guitar lead parts. Maybe the best track is “Fortune” on the second side, where he leads in with a long electric guitar passage that twists and develops beautifully, and in fact some of the nicest moments on the album come from his guitar playing – there`s a lovely part in the final section of “Cold Autumn Sunday” as well. I didn`t expect quite such maturity in his playing. Hardly a great album, but it does have some nice moments.

Hensley Proud

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: Dave Lambert, Beck, Bogert & Appice, Isaac Hayes, Peter Frampton, Rory Gallagher, Dusty Springfield, Syd Barrett, Stevie Wonder, Badger, Judy Sill, Jennie Hahn, Help Yourself, Ian A. Anderson, Pete Townshend.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM SOUNDS, January 13, 1973

Another useful review for people to dissect. I am now looking forward to a month of football, but I will try to keep this blog running as usual in between games, household chores and work.


Live concert review

By Tim McKenna

Three thousand fans arrived at London`s Rainbow Theatre on Sunday to see Uriah Heep, which was almost a shame for Silverhead, the opening support act. However, despite antagonising an already unsympathetic crowd by being late, they managed to slowly swing the atmosphere into their favour with their direct brand of soul-based rock and roll.
With the audience still warm, Uriah had little to do but whip them to near hysteria by the end of the evening, which they did comfortably. Until then we had heard them play, not particularly spectacularly, tracks from three of their albums, the new one “Magician`s Birthday,” “Demons and Wizards”, and “Look At Yourself”.
They chose a heavy set opening with a piece from “Magician`s Birthday” and also included “July Morning”, “Gypsy” and “Tears In My Eyes”. At times the choice was too heavy and it was a relief to hear the uptempo “Sweet Lorraine”, “Look At Yourself”, and “Love Machine”.
“Gypsy” in fact was leavened by a devious solo from Ken Hensley, incorporating a three part organ and mini moog solo which began with a moog interval sounding at times like the scraping of steel on porcelain. He continued the solo with a Bach-type organ recital and ended it with a “Caravan” trip on the moog, along with Lee Kerslake`s drums.
Ken also took lead guitar on “Tears In My Eyes”, but after a promising start, it tailed off into a dismal undirected mass of sound, plodding along without mystery, interest or precision. Nevertheless, Heep freaks were jiving in the shadows like plants from another galaxy and were no doubt encouraged by seeing bassist Gary Thain riding on singer David Byron`s back as he knelt on the floor.
Earlier, “July Morning” from “Look At Yourself” had trodden much the same path though David Byron`s humorous inflections saved it from disaster.
Yet, for Heep, it was a spectacularly successful evening. Perhaps it was because they were on home territory for the first time for some while. But whatever it was, when Byron asked everyone to stand up and clap along to their closer, “Look At Yourself”, they did – and they didn`t sit down again, just stood yelling and screaming for more.


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: Fairport Convention, Ronnie Wood, Jon Hiseman, Pentangle, Claire Hamill, Ray Davies, Al Kooper, Procol Harum, Hemlock, Graham Bell, Elton John, Brinsley Schwarz, Martyn Wyndham-Read, John Peel, Uriah Heep.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM SOUNDS, January 13, 1973

Yes, I know, I published an article about this band only a couple of weeks ago, but I just feel that I need to give this band a little more room on the internet. Why? Because they are one of the great bands arriving from England in the late 60s/early 70s, and they should be mentioned in the same breath along bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Alongside Purple they are the only band of these from that era that still play their music on the road all over the world. Respect!


What a Heep

Rex Anderson talking to that very `umble band Uriah Heep

This is the band they call the Heep. Heep of laughs, heep of money, heep of trouble. Hang ups? Listen! The word was invented by these guys.
Businesswise – fine. Well managed… well organised… went down a storm in the States… great new album… off on a British tour – fantastic. On stage they rock like the Empire State in a high wind – and that`s really rocking babe.


Come and spend a day with them. Mad looking aren`t they? They are. Mick Box is the worst. He smashed two Gibsons on the American tour. “I threw them up and forgot to catch them.” He told the same joke three times – about the nine-year-old gynaecologist (he wanted to be a heart surgeon but he couldn`t reach that high) – we all laughed politely the third time. Lee Kerslake is insane. “I`m only the drummer. I`m not expected to have brains as well.” And David Byron actually encourages him: feeding bits of sausage to him as Lee bounds round the floor barking like an overgrown Spaniel. “I put too much mustard on that bit. That should shut him up.”
Mick is bouncing about on the sofa examining his repaired Gibson and working his way round to telling the gynaecologist joke again. Gary Thain, the bass player, is being unbelievably quiet and Ken Hensley, their keyboards man, is worrying about what he just told the News of the World, in between Monty Python impersonations.
Lee: “Christ Dave. What did you put on that sausage.” Yelps and pads off towards the drinks trolley. In between the interviews, most of the conversation is taken up with planning a set for their next gig and discussing their health.
The band is dying on its feet. You can see that. That`s not to say they are splitting or anything boring like that. In fact they are very happy with each other. The wise cracks bounce back and forth and Lee`s occasional fits are almost ignored.
But they are all so ill. Gary Thain`s voice sounds like a kiwi in a gravel pit. He`s also having trouble with his back. Dave has got back pains as well and Ken says he can`t eat and wakes up with a headache every morning. Lee says he`s the same. “I just want to sleep all day and stay awake all night.”

Dave says he feels fine. How does he know? His doctor told him he felt fine. “It wouldn`t matter if he was a charlatan. As long as he said you were 100 per cent fit you`re on stage feeling great.” Ken has to slip off to see the band`s doctor.
“He`s a wonderful doctor,” says Lee. “He`s got these new pills that completely cleared my sinuses.” Gary has got to break rehearsals the next day to see the same doctor. Dave says he`s sick. “Sick of that Demons and Wizards angle. We`re going to get right away from that on the next album. It`s going to be recorded live on the tour. A double.”
Mick says he likes all that Demons and Magicians bit. Ken has been getting letters from a cat who calls himself a wizard and is designing a space station. “I`ve got all the blue prints.” He also has mail from a witch in Japan who tells him everything he has done the night before. “It`s nothing like.”
There`s a bit of a hustle over rumours that someone has been circulating about the group`s behaviour abroad. They decide to hold a board meeting in camera and drift off into an adjacent bedroom. Ken and Lee get locked in. A flunky has to get a pass key to get them out.
Ken: “We ought to cancel all our tours and take the year off. I need more practice in taking holidays. I get so bored sitting at home looking at the floor boards. I play all me records and the piano and all me guitars one by one. That takes care of about three hours and then I`m back staring at the boards again.”


Fact is, the group enjoy being together and out on the road. Dave admits they are all nervous before a tour, but they love being out on stage triggering things off and playing up to each other.
Lee is making a list of numbers for the Rainbow concert. There`s “Magician`s Birthday” and then, “Sunrise”, “Traveller In Time”, “Sweet Loraine”. From Dave: “No. `Traveller In Time` comes after `Sweet Loraine` and then `Easy Living`.” Lee: “`Easy Living`, `July Morning`, `Gypsy`. How do you spell `Gypsy`?”
Dave: “We can`t really work it out till we`re down there. We`ve got to work out `Magician`s Birthday`. You could try `Blind Eye`.”
Lee: “What`s that one that goes voom pa-da-da?”
Dave: “That`s `Blind Eye`. (to Ken) I`ve suggested that if we have a good piano and it`s miked up we could do `Rain`. I`ve worked out how to do that `Happy Birthday To You` vocal thing.”
Lee: “I can get a kazoo. That`s easy. I can play drums and kazoo.”
Dave: “Ken, I don`t know whether you can do it. That high voice I try to get on `Sweet Loraine`. It sounds like a Moog note.”
Mick: “How can you get that da-da-da?”
Ken: “We can do it two ways. Either with electric guitar, or I can try it on the organ. I can get that rhythm.”


Dave: “Only one thing about it. That `Musician`s Birthday` on stage. We`d have to be very volume conscious.”
Incredible isn`t it. And they can all understand every word they are saying. They are really very bright boys. It`s just the music that`s loud and violent. Perhaps it`s because of that that they have had so many hang-ups. “The authorities think we are violent,” says Mick.
There was the time that Ken`s life was threatened in Detroit and someone fired a bullet through Lee`s hotel window. Then there was the occasion they were all held at gun-point in Rome and the time they were all stranded in a snow-drift in the middle of Canada.
The group seems to spend their whole time trying to avoid death – either natural or accidental. They seem to upset people too. What is it? Do they go round the world smashing up hotels or something. “No. We don`t believe in that sort of thing. After all we have got to go back there,” says Mick.
What an incredibly sane thing to say, we all think.
“Did you hear about the nine-year-old gynaecologist…”.


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: Fairport Convention, Ronnie Wood, Jon Hiseman, Pentangle, Claire Hamill, Ray Davies, Al Kooper, Procol Harum, Hemlock, Graham Bell, Elton John, Brinsley Schwarz, Martyn Wyndham-Read, John Peel.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Mick Box (Uriah Heep) FROM SOUNDS, November 25, 1972

As one of those people that like and respect the music and the people in Uriah Heep, but without going complete fan-boy and doing research on every little tidbit of their career, I think this interview was really great as there was a lot of things about their early years that I didn`t know – until now. Mick Box says in this interview that he likes to go home and sleep in his own bed – well, considering their hectic activity, still touring all over the world, he has spent less time in his own bed than most people. His bed-bugs are assured to die between every visit home.
Cheers to the man and the band for keeping the flame alive!


Mick Box in the talk-in

by Ray Hammond

Uriah Heep. A misunderstood band in this country, a band who have found such success in the States and in Europe that they haven`t really had the time to correct their British image. They arrived in the 1969 to 1970 period which was remarkable for the rise of the “heavies” such as Purple and Sabbath and to many people`s minds they play loud, heavy music and that`s that. But the band today is far, far more musical than the band which recorded “Very `Eavy, Very `Umble”, back in 1969. Perhaps the man who governs the direction most is guitarist and singer Mick Box and the opportunity of a Talk In with him gave me the opportunity to discover exactly the genealogy behind both the band and the super-fast guitar style of the man.

Can you remember what was the very first music you ever heard?

Oh dear, hang on. Yes, the first thing that actually stuck in my brain was the Buddy Holly era. I don`t even remember a particular tune, just that whole thing. I was knocked out with the sound. I liked the way he sung and it was different to anything else. That was a stage I was going through when I used to stand in the front room miming with a tennis racket.

So you knew that it was a guitar that you wanted to learn to play?

Yes, most definitely, there was nothing else.


How long after that did you actually get your first guitar?

It must have been about a year after that I got this little ukelele `cos I thought it was a cheap guitar, I was a bit dumb. I knocked out a few little tunes on that which was fun and then I wanted to get the proper thing so I got a £12 10s. guitar called a Telston, or something like that, and that was from the pawnbrokers.

So when you switched from Uke to proper guitar you had to learn some new chords?

Ukelele chords are like shortened guitar chords, you know chords with just two fingers and I got a few little books that showed me the chords and I picked up a few things from there. I thought well I`ve got to go further than this so I tried to learn songs from records. That didn`t work at all. I couldn`t get it to sound like the music at all so I started going to a guitar teacher.
I went to him for about a couple of months and he was a bit of a con merchant. He used to give me things to play and I had to go away and learn to play the thing in a week. But within half an hour I could play it to him, it did help in as much as he showed me the basic formation of chords with tonic thirds and fifths and I suppose he was really helpful in just being someone to report to.
After I got fed up with him I didn`t know who to turn to so I just used to plonk away at home and with my knowledge of chord formation I was able to build my own chords.

So you still couldn`t get anything from records?

No, but the first thing I eventually got from records actually shaped my whole technique. I tried to copy a record by Les Paul and Mary Ford. I didn`t know anything about recording at all, nothing. His whole sound is a speeded up guitar sound and he`d play, in rough terms, something at 16 r.p.m. and speed it up to 45 and then put it out as a record.
I used to try and copy him at that speed and in actual fact I kept on plugging away at that record. I think it was “Nola,” and eventually, I got it at the right speed and so I got on into a fast technique thing. After that I started getting into jazz players like Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel.
Well soon after this period I formed my own band. That was just a local band that I formed with guys I`d heard of from the same area. We played the local youth clubs for six bottles of coke and that sort of fee. I remember our first paid gig. I think we got ten bob. That was very much the front room rehearsal scene and it was really a good era.

The band was playing what sort of music?

I think it was just before the Stones happened and we were into Buddy Holly music and Elvis` stuff. Our lead singer could only sing rock so we bashed that out all night. I think I must have been about 13 at this time so we were pretty young. All the music like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Blue Suede Shoes” is based on the 12-bar format and that also gave us a chance to do a few lead breaks because you don`t have to think too heavily.

What did you call the band you had at that time?

We were called the Stalkers, and that was for both reasons because we wanted the women as well, you see.


How long did the Stalkers last?

It lasted a good few years because we started to get £15 gigs, and all that and we thought “amazing” and we were really pleased. We started playing the Marquee and that was really the big time for us and just before we made the Marquee we realised we needed a new vocalist because the other guy just wasn`t up to it and our drummer`s cousin was David Byron who`s our singer now and he suggested that this guy David might be suitable and that was the start of a partnership that has taken us right through `till now.
The auditions we had at that time were so silly, we just said: “What do you know” and if he knew “Blue Suede Shoes”, we said: “OK sing it.” So we settled on David.

Where did the band go to from the Marquee?

From there we thought we wanted a change and David and myself wanted a change, we wanted to go professional. I was working as a clerk in an export office. I was determined to be professional.

It must have been a big decision.

David was a bit unsure because packing up and going pro meant that we were going to lose two members because they wanted to go through with their apprenticeships. We struggled a long while when we first went pro and we spent a year just writing songs together.
It proved a lot harder than we thought to get the right musicians and we finally got Paul Newton who was in this band and we got in a drummer and we called ourselves Spice.

So this was in fact the beginning of the band that`s now Uriah Heep?

Yeah, we started doing all the clubs after a period of a year with no work.

How did you live through that year?

For the first six months I did things like potato picking, get up at six in the morning and worked all through the day and get about £2 a week for it. I washed down shop windows and signs, cut someone`s lawn, anything to get money going and get through a week. It was just a struggle for ourselves and in the end we ended up going on the dole for six months.
They kept sending us for jobs and they`d tell us to go on the ninth for an interview and we`d turn up on the 19th and swear that we`d seen a one in front of the nine on the piece of paper with the instructions on it and of course they would immediately consider us unsuitable.
I also used to go down the dole in the bizarre clothes like pyjamas and jumpers with huge holes in the sleeves and I`d do anything not to get a job. I did that for six months and in the end I couldn`t keep a straight face.
We eventually got a drummer called Alex Napier in on drums and we started doing some clubs and being picked up by a few agents. A guy who helped us out a lot was Neil Warnock. He worked for an agency called Southbank and he managed us for a while.


What sort of material was Spice doing?

Well to get work in those days you couldn`t do what you wanted to. You had to remember that people wanted to hear certain things and you just had to play them. We tried to get away from playing all the run of the mill stuff and we used to dig out old Joe Tex things and numbers like that which went down very well.
We never did the top twenty stuff, we used to spend hours in record shops digging out obscure numbers to play. I remember finding Donnie Elbert`s “Little Bit Of Leather” and songs like that.

Did you put any soul in the act at that time?

Well soul was the thing at that time and we used to do some as a kind of a mickey take thing with dance routines. Then we started to get into an improvisation kick and we started to play our own numbers on stage.



I remember that it was difficult for a band to play their own numbers on stage at that time?

Yeah it was murder. We got to a point where we were digging up all these old numbers and we thought we could write numbers just as good. At that time we couldn`t actually, but at least we were attempting it. So we started sticking in a few originals and they seemed to be getting the same reaction so we gained a little confidence.

About what year would this have been?

I think it was about 1967. It was during that year that we started doing our own numbers on stage and we did more and more of them until the whole set was just our own numbers.

What sort of clubs were you doing then?

We were doing the Marquee, college dates, the Red Lions, the Wake Arms, Epping, this sort of thing.

This was about the time of the start of the underground movement?

Yes very much so, I think we were one of the first bands to get a little bit indulgent in as much as I used to go and do a guitar solo for 15 minutes on stage with the rest of the band going off and at that stage nobody around was doing that.
I think we were carving our own little niche then but we kept to the format that we used with this band that you can afford to be really heavy and exciting but still retain lot of harmony and melody with it and that`s what we were trying to do then. We`re still doing that.
On stage five of us sing and normally with all that power going on you get just one guy out front who`s singing.


How long did Spice last under that name?

It ended at the end of 1969. Gerry Bron came to see us working at the Blues Loft, High Wycombe, and we`d heard that Gerry was a good straight manager so we`d invited him to come down. He thought we had it all there potentially, musically and so on but he knew there was something missing. So did we but we didn`t know what, we didn`t know where to turn.
So he took us under his wing, he didn`t sign us or anything and he gave us a few pilot gigs to see if we were good enough, whether we`d turn up on time, if we were reliable or if we were temperamental. So he tried us out for a long while and then he slung us in the studio with a couple of our own numbers, just to try and find out our direction.
We`d never been in the studio before except for a few demo sessions and we went in and what we came out with wasn`t very impressive at all – in fact, we still listen to the tape we made on that session now, just for a laugh. Gerry was knocked out with the enthusiasm and the will to get on and he stuck with us. Then we started to record our first album.

Was this the album that eventually came out as “Very `Eavy.”?

Yeah and it was during that we discovered what the missing link was we needed a keyboard player, and another voice. Our bass player used to play with a band called the Gods and another ex-God was Ken Hensley who was playing at that time with a band called Toe Fat.
We approached Kenny and he agreed to come down to Hanwell Community centre and have a blow. We just played for a while and we realised it was going to work. In addition to playing keyboards he could also play guitar, write songs and sing and this was just what we needed. So we started recording that band.

The album came out a long while after you recorded it didn`t it?

Yeah, that was the drag, because when that album came out it was obsolete for the band because we`d moved so fast we were already into other material.

It did a lot of good for you that album, though, didn`t it?

It did more good for us on the Continent actually, it was OK here, but they really picked up on it.


When was the period that the band actually started to break?

We got the Uriah Heep name from Gerry. The band came to him in the centenary year of Dicken`s death or something and we picked up on a bit of publicity. We`d been thinking of all different names for the band like your Corrugated Dandruff and Clockwork Doughnut and it was nice to find a name that had a bit of a story behind it.
We got all that dealt with and we were doing some pilot gigs in England getting new gear worked in and then we were slung over to be on a festival in Hamburg in Germany and we were first on the bill. We steamed in there and they gave us an ovation and they wanted an encore which wasn`t bad for a band there for the first time.
There were a lot of influential promoters backstage who all saw it and they started booking us on German tours and things, which was beautiful and the Germans really started plugging for us. In six months we were over there six times on various tours.
The album started going in the charts; it snowballed for us there.

How did the band come to go to the States?

Well we were very successful in Germany and it was slowly happening here, it was very slow but it was still going. We were having a lot of bad press which may have been right or may have been wrong. I don`t know, but it never concerned us that much because we were still going along to gigs and each time we went we got bigger crowds and we always got encores. We just hoped that the press thing would swing round which luckily it has done.
We thought, States, OK. Let`s go there.
We went over there as a support band playing 30 or 45 minutes just to get experience and it`s the first time we`d ever played before 20,000 people. It was like the Blues Loft, High Wycombe to the Los Angeles Forum, it was ridiculous.


What was the States audience reaction like?

It was interesting, it wasn`t brilliant but it was interesting. Three Dog Night wasn`t exactly our crowd. At the end of the tour we found there was enough reaction to go back and do another tour and then we toured with Deep Purple and Buddy Miles which really broke us out there.

Do you enjoy playing the States more than anywhere else?

I enjoy playing there but there`s no where like home, is there? Up the M1, play the gigs and then you can go home to your own bed.


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: Frankie Miller, Wishbone Ash, Steve Took, Edgar Broughton, Rod Stewart, Don McLean, Harry Chapin, Hookfoot, Lou Reizner, Allman Brothers, The organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival, Roy Harper, Gladys Knight, Tight Like That, Gentle Giant.

This issue is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Trevor Bolder (Spiders From Mars) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 28, 1976

This update on my blog took longer than expected because of commitments at work, but finally; here is a new post for you all to enjoy. This time with one very important bass player. This article should be of equal interest for Bowie-fans as for fans of Uriah Heep and Mick Ronson.
Trevor Bolder sadly died in May 2013 at the age of 62 from cancer.


“We`ve still got the Bowie costumes. We can wear those.”

…says down-home, duffle-coated, non-decadent Spider From Mars Trevor Bolder to debonair, trench-coated, cosmopolitan Lizard from Poland Chris Salewicz (late of the uncredited Gong feature on last week`s page 12). Thrill to it!

Hull. H.U.L.L.
Ah, the romance contained in those four letters: Images of a nation torn apart by the hardship inflicted on the Men Of Hull by the heinous Icelanders; a spiritual kinship with the Brest of Jean Genet; the scent of rotting fish drifting down the Beverley Road. Perhaps one day Sailor will write a romantic concept album about Hull.
Unless the Spiders From Mars beat `em to it.
It is in Hull (where else?) that the Spiders From Mars are currently tucked away rehearsing for a British tour. “A long way from David Bowie,” you might think. “How unchic,” you may well grunt. And you`d probably be right.
After all, these lads could well be accused of being a little naughty going around calling themselves by that name. Wherefore art thou, Ronno? Also half-whither pianist Mike Garson direct from working with Lulu and David Essex – who`s about to split the land back to his native USA to renew his British visa. He will not be joining the Spiders From Mars. He has, however, played on their album. He may join them for the tour, when it materialises. If they haven`t managed to find another keyboard player, that is.
And “they”? “They” are bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Woody Woodmansey. Half the original Bowie-backing Spiders. To be precise, the rhythm section.

“All depends on how much importance you put on a name and how much you put on the music and the band,” comments Trevor Bolder stunningly. We are seated on some peculiarly spine-twisting Habitat chairs (the Campus range, actually) in an office overlooking the Edgware Road at the headquarters of Pye. Not Hull in the strictest geographical sense, perhaps, but close to it spiritually.
With Trevor is Pete McDonald, the Spiders` vocalist. Pete speaks infrequently and yawns frequently. This is because he couldn`t go to sleep last night because he was driving down from his home in Newcastle to London. Via Hull, of course, to pick up Trevor from his home.
Now, Trevor. I do feel it unlikely that you would have been booked to play the few billtopping college dates you have played if you`d been masquerading as the 50% unknown band that you actually are under another name.
“I dunno. I never booked them.” More Trevor Bolder stun-speech. And then: “It`s a leverage. It`s a place for us to go from. Why the hell should I try and start rock-bottom again if I`ve got something I can use? But it`s as hard for us to use the name again as it is not to use it, if you know what I mean. Because people say `Oh, the bloody Spiders again. What they doin`?`. And then they just brush it aside.
“But we like the name and we never did get to do an album on our own as a backup band. Which was planned to be done. It fell through when we just disbanded, you know, when Ronson went and did his own album. And so we decided to do one. And we like the name. We think it`s a good name. It`s unusual. People always go `Oooo. What?`.”

And yet, Trevor, you must admit to only being half of the original Spiders.
“I think if we`re going to do anything anyway it`s going to be on what music the band gives off.” Trevor disposes with further finicky obsessions about detail with true Northern bluntness.
With the exception of Woody Woodmansey – who is at this moment ” `ammerin` out” a new drum-kit down in East Grinstead (ho-hum) and who was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar – all the Bowie Spiders recorded “Pinups”. “Pinups” was, in fact, the last time that these musicians were to record with the Beckenham Boy although no-one knew that at the time. Shortly afterwards they entered the studio with Mick Ronson in charge to lay down the tracks for “Slaughter On 10th Avenue”.
“I thought `e should have played more rock`n`roll meself to be honest,” laughs Trevor, “I really thought he shouldn`t have gone out and tried to be a singer. He should have concentrated on being a rock guitar player.”
Question voiced: So whose idea was it that he should lay down his guitar and start airing the tonsils? (Question implied: So tell me all about Tony De Fries` manipulation of Poor Innocent Ronno?).
“Is. It was `is career. `E did what `e wanted. `E `ad a free `and in everything `e wanted to do. `E wasn`t told by De Fries. I think `e just `ad a lack of experience at that point in what direction to go in and `e just got together wheatever `e could and just did an album. And `e just went in the direction it went in.”
The Pye press officer sticks his head around the door and mumbles something unintelligible to my ears.

“We`re `oping,” Trevor translates, “to be doing the big dates with Dave in London as a support band. It`s just an idea that we`ve been talking on the phone about” (the much more financially reasonable localised Hull telephone service, I expect). “Might not come off. All depends what `e feels like. But `e keeps changing `is mind. You can never tell with `im. `E`s that sort of a person,” he adds, looking knowingly at me.
You had that problem with him when you were working together?
“Oooooh. All the time.”
Because I`ve always had the impression that David Bowie is enormously together and seems to know exactly what he wants.
“Oh, `e does but I mean like. `E knows what `e`s after. `E knows what direction `e`s going in but `e changes `is mind about things. For the right time. One day `e`ll say one thing and then `e`ll realise it`s the wrong thing and `e`ll change it again. That`s the way `e works.”
As a young lady enters the room to search unsuccessfully for “Jim`s diary” – Trevor talks about DB and Money: “We was just on wages. Always was. Well,” he pauses a moment or two, “We thought it might have been different but it never was. I mean, we got good wages. The money went up as the band progressed. As it got bigger and bigger we earned more. We didn`t earn a fortune like people thought we did. De Fries and Dave earned the money. We just earned a good living.”


So what happened after “Pinups”? Why`dja pack it in?
“With Bowie??? I didn`t really pack it in. You mean playing? I don`t know.” He says it as if the question has never occurred to him. “We never saw each other after that. I mean, I didn`t see David for about four or five months, you know, and I went off and played on Mick`s album. And whether `e thought `Eh eh? `E`s gone off with Mick and I`ll get somebody else in` I don`t know.
“But I just accepted it. I was too busy working wi` Mick.”
“On to play on `Don`t Worry`, the second Mick Ronson solo album,” I prompt?
He nods: “That was a funny album. It took months. We went to France to record it first and we used this studio that wasn`t very good and we spent two weeks there and `e only kept about two tracks, I think. Two backing tracks. And `e came back and recorded it all again at Trident. A very expensive job.
“It was just after that he joined up with Mott. I don`t know why.”
Trevor Bolder then made lengthy and abortive searches to find musicians to form a band of his own. None were suitable. One day he walked into Cube Records and met up with Barry Bethel, a MainMan organizations expatriate. Bethel recommended first a vocalist, Pete McDonald, from a Cube signed Geordie band, Bullfrog. Bolder got off on his Paul Rodgers-esque vocals. “And I decided to get together with Woody (Woodmansey) as well. And Woody thought it was a good idea `cause `e wasn`t doing anything at the time. So there was three of us and we needed a guitar player.”
Pete McDonald recommended yet another Cube artist, Dave Black, guitarist with a band called Kestrel. “Sort of McLaughlin, Yes type of thing. Different style totally from what I`ve been used to. A very fast guitar player. And we got `im down, got off on `is playing and we went from there. This is February of last year.”

Was there any period after you left Bowie where you wondered what the hell you were going to do next?
“Well, I automatically thought `What the `ell am I going to do`, you know. But I decided that there was only one thing to do and that was to form another band, you know. Get playing again. Because I `adn`t stopped playing just `cause I`d finished with David. That was all in the past.
“Even when I look back on it now it`s very hard to bring to mind all the times when I was onstage. It`s like I`ve been to the pictures and watched it at the pictures and you get like glimpses. I`d sort of forgotten what it was like playing with him, you know. It`s all sort of gone and I`m just like looking for summ`at new now.
“But I mean like you play with Dave and you play bass and you contribute to the albums with a few ideas but that`s about as far as it goes. You don`t get to write any songs.
“Whereas this way we`ve got more freedom. You can do what you want and enjoy it. Everybody gets to write and to put in their ideas and it feels more like a stable band whereas before it was a band and one man and you didn`t know what was going to happen next. And in the end, of course, we just bust up.”
Pete McDonald breaks his silence: “The writing potential`s great `cos we wrote that whole album in five days. It just seemed to click.”
And you expect the album to chart?
“Ye-ahhh,” says Trevor, just a little hesitantly,” If we get the right promotion and get the band onto a tour and let people see the band. It`s a very visual band. Very rock. We don`t just stand there.
“We`ve still got the Bowie costumes. We`ve still got the clothes. We can always wear those. But as compared to the Bowie thing it`s much more raw. Much more rock. There`s not as much theatre.”
Pete for the third time: “It`s a lot of fun as well. It`s all amusement. The serious bits don`t come into it too much. If somebody makes the wrong move they just get filled in by the others. No stars.”
“I think people take the business too seriously,” nods Trevor Bolder. “I mean, I did when I was with Dave. I used to think everything had to be so right. But you`ve got to go out there and have fun and that`s what we`re trying to do. To enjoy it for ourselves as much as the audience.”


Those were the days – when Boots sold records! 

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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Emmylou Harris, The Sexual language of rock (not a band!), Dave Burland, Johnny Clarke, Steve Harley, Kokomo, 10 cc, Lee Brilleaux.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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