Kim says ” I used to think I was just an average, slightly lazy bloke….I probably am that, but looking back at this (semi) – ripe old age it looks as tho’ my life has been crammed with stuff – probably cause I’ve been around so long….. Certainly when I look at Gavin Sutherland’s cv where he says that moving with his brother and family from Fraserburgh to Stoke at age 8 freaked him out, I realised I may be average but I am not remotely ‘normal’
My father was in the Royal Navy – an engine room artificer – when I was born in Portsmouth, so he my mother and me soon found ourselves in Scapa Flow with the fleet, and then living in Glasgow and later the Isle of Bute in the very early 50’s. At eighteen months I apparently I had a pleasant Scottish burr of an accent, which I subsequently shed as we moved on Castle Bromwich Birmingham where they built spitfires, then to Horley in Surrey, then two homes in Dunstable, Bedfordshire: by the time I was ten we’d moved 7 times – lucky for some ! The main story I remember from the Scottish period is that the winds were so high on Bute that the cottage roof of our neighbours had be held down with a spanish windlass. Fortunately I stopped picking up the local accent after Scotland.
At the ripe old age of ‘x’, I’ve now moved home about 25 times. It must the gypsy in my soul…. or as my adopted mantra puts it,
‘How the hell did I get myself into this ?’
My parents didn’t move me again while I ‘got an education’ at Dunstable Grammar School. I came out the other end with thirteen’O’ levels and four grade ‘B’ ‘A levels in Latin French English and Art, then went to University in Swansea and came out with a first honours degree in Psychology and Philosophy with a place to do a Doctorate if I wanted.
So I went to London to become a professional musician ! In five years i was doing bricklaying ! My first band ‘TheThanes’ in Dunstable was followed by three at college – ‘The Existential Blues band’, ‘Con Tempo’ and ‘The Aztec Resurrection’ (my name !). it turned out two of them got record deals – they just didn’t tell me. 4 more bands in London then I auditioned with the Sutherland Brothers who had a 3-record deal with the ground-breaking Island Records, my favourite record co and built around my favourite band Traffic – Stevie Winwood, Dave Mason, Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi – so gifted they take your breath away. Time Out once described Jim Capaldi as ‘Official Timekeeper of the Universe’ – yeah, just about covers it. have a listen.
I came out the other end of the Sutherland Bros with praise from the legendary Muff Winwood who produced it. I’m very proud of my contribution to it, and I do think it’s one of the best albums ever made. The boys had a vocal blend as good as the Everly Brothers, with a teaspoon of the Beatles and the Byrds so what was not to like ? And we worked ! We got stuff done pronto, not something you always find in the musicbiz. No convoluted discussions about ‘arrangements’, just the odd note here or there, and a sense of PACE. Wayne Bardell their manager said I’d been chosen out of 40 bass players – fair enough ! And the Everly Bros went on to record stuff written by the Sutherland Bros….. QED
I’d always played bass and guitar since I was sixteen, bass with Con Tempo and Sutherland Bros, guitar with The Thanes, and guitar and bass with Aztec Resurrection – I’d play bass with the band and the orchestra, and overdub the guitar. After the Sutherland Bros I had two of my own bands, Quicksilver and Landfill Blues on guitar and vocs and got a lot of 6-month residencies. I also started property renovation – hence the bricklaying. I’d already built boats but now I taught myself the other onsite skills – plastering, electrics etc. I’d already converted my parents’ loft when I was 13, making a custom-made folding ladder with bricks as counterbalance weights and wooden wheels I’d made from plywood as well as putting a floor in.
I became reacquainted with singer-songwriter-guitarist-keyboards player Ed Furst and we formed the Bottle Brothers (so-called for several reasons !). We did some gigs and recordings. We’re about to bring out a new album.
Things moved on – I met Uta Lohse (Buck/Boundy) a great photographer and music ‘impresario’ honoured for her efforts by honourary membership of the Musicians Union for ‘services to jazz and live music’ and we put on lots of live music incuding jazz and my new band ‘Out of the Blue’. Mark One Out of the Blue had been formed 3 years before as a two-piece band with me and Chicago saxophonist and keyboard playerJohn Dorman who was very funny – we made a big cardboard moustache and beard which he hung on his sax when busking on the tube at Christmas. I played him some Steve Winwood ‘what do you think?’ (John was of the Black persuasion) – ‘He sounds more like a black man than a black man do !’ QED. At gigs I played Wes Montgomery-style octaves and he said to me ‘Man, the way you was poppin’ them notes !’
My favourite players in ‘Out of the Blue’ were sax players and flautists Angele Veltmeijer, Louise Elloitt, and Ruthie Smith, all women, one Dutch, one Australian and one English, all Arian star-signs like myself, Adam Jones who people reckoned played like Oscar Peterson on keyboards, and Wayne Worrell on bass who was learning when I met him 22 years ago and who now I would have difficulty keeping up with. I always tried to get him to play like my favourite Tamla Motown bass players……. I think now they couldn’t see him for dust !!
So far there are have been 5 major incarnations of ‘Out of the Blue’ and it ain’t dead yet !
Almost up until Uta died of pancreatic cancer ten years ago we ran a music bar in North London opposite Whittington Park Highgate and put on 5 nights of music and comedy a week. It was fun and very scary.
Currently I’m about to start gigging again and releasing 3 albums, one of my own music ‘Getting in the Zone’ by my band Blue Tubes ‘The Bottle Brothers’ by the Bottle Bros – that’s Ed Furst and me with friends, and a sampler of other people’s music I recorded in my magic 4-track studio in North London in the 70’s – ‘Hot Sounds 78 Studio Sampler’ after a 10-year spell of ‘terminal heart failure’ and a toxic gut problem which nearly finished me off – better now tho’, eh ? Also I have to retrieve as many boats as may have survived attempts to repossess in my most chaotic period of illness. Surely one will be left for me to go ‘Sailing’ on the Thames and Solent again
Finally I now have 4 edited videos of OOTB gigs on youtube and website, and snippets from the forthcoming albums shown at the end of the section on crowdfunding.
And revamps of my books about building and music, and a couple of new ones – ‘The Price of Passion’ and ‘Existential Blues’
Maybe I’ll see you at gigs – I promise not to talk too much ! (mind you I’ve said that before!)