drums / keyboards / tech
1963 – My brother John and I were given a record player for Christmas along with some “single” records. One of these records was The Beatles “She Loves You” and from then on I knew I wanted to play drums. I spent the next seven years playing on upturned cooking pots with knitting needles and pleading with my Mum and Dad to buy me a drum kit. By 1965 we were living in Thetford, Norfolk.
My best friend at school – David Hobbs – was given a Bass Guitar. So, with another friend Mark Potton, a band was formed. (Mark wanted to play drums but there was no choice – he HAD to play guitar). A short time later Mark got a guitar, so there was only me without an instrument. After lots more pleading I finally got my first drum kit in the summer of 1970. It was a Gigster kit, in blue sparkle costing £21. It had a snare, bass drum, tom tom and one cymbal. The band was now up and running and we called ourselves “Purple Eye”. We played a mix of rock ‘n’ roll and songs from the charts. It was not long before we were playing gigs at local youth clubs etc. I was also the lead singer in “Purple Eye” (Shock horror!).
Gary Roberts joined the band on guitar and vocals and we changed our name to “Heavy Water”. We were by now playing lot more Heavy Rock material from the likes of Hawkwind, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Gary was a year older than the rest of us and had a “girlfriend”…. this would cause problems later in the band. By this time I had a part time job at a local supermarket. Most of the money I earned was saved for a new drum kit, with a little going on records. When I finally had the money I bought a Carlton kit – costing £25 – in grey pearl. It consisted of snare, bass drum, top tom, floor tom and one cymbal. I put both kits together and had a double bass drum kit (look out Ginger Baker).
The band around this time got a manager, a local show band singer (I forget his name!) who got us some bookings. At one gig, at a community social club, our Hawkwind covers went down so badly that he jumped on stage and proceeded to sing “Distant Drums” as the rest of us tried to play along. It was a complete nightmare! At this time we did our first and only recording, in a studio under the local baker’s shop. We recorded two songs, a cover of “Honky-Tonk Woman” and one of our own – I still have a copy of the tape to this day!
“Heavy Water” played more gigs, but Gary soon left the band (because his girlfriend had told him to). He quit the afternoon before a gig, so we played as a three-piece with me singing. John Deacon (not the one in Queen) and Cliff Bradley – both school friends – joined as singers and the band continued to play gigs. During this year I started working for Post Office Telephones (now BT), this meant I now had money to spend but I had to move to Cambridge.
“Heavy Water” fell apart for various reasons, but Mark and myself went on to form a new band. This time with Gary playing bass and singing. We called ourselves “Speed”. We didn’t play any gigs and the band soon folded. Through my work I met Robert (Bob) Winch. Bob played guitar and was into Jazz…it was not long before we were jamming together.
“Triton” was formed by myself on drums, Bob Winch on guitar and Nigel Route on bass and vocals. Nigel was a friend of Bob’s from his hometown (King’s Lynn). The band played mostly original material, jazzy instrumentals by Bob and progressive songs from Nigel…. plus some rock covers.
“Triton” played its first and only gig in Kings Lynn. By this time I had saved enough money to buy my first professional drum kit. A black 5 drum Hayman Showman kit. Later the same year I got my first decent cymbals, Zildjian and Paiste 602. I still have the ride and high hats but the two crash cymbals cracked after about five years of use. We became a four-piece group with the addition of Jonathan on Saxophone and changed our name to “Met Office”. The band stopped playing covers and concentrated on writing our own Jazz-rock material.
“Met Office” played their one and only gig and then split up. Punk is now in full flow and nobody was interested in a jazz-rock band. I bought my first Ludwig kit. It was a 5 drum “Big Beat” kit in “Butchers Block” finish. I joined another Jazz-rock band “Occassional Table”. I only stayed for about 3 months before I left without playing a single gig. Some time in the late summer of ’77 I answered an advert in the local paper for a drummer. It turned out to be for “Mandy Morton and Spriguns”. A professional band which had already made four albums. I went to an audition and all went well until the old drummer decided not to leave (he was Alex Cooper of “Katrina and the Waves” fame). Next I answered an advert that led me to joining ‘The Zeds”.
I sold my Hayman kit and bought my first Gretsch kit. A lovely Marine Pearl 5 drum kit.I used this and the Ludwig kit when playing in “The Zeds”.
I did my first professional recording with “The Zeds” at Spaceward, a 16 Track studio in Cambridge. I also played on a few dates with “The Mandy Morton Band” in the autumn of ’79. In ’79 I also bought a Ludwig Black Beauty brass snare drum, which I still use as my main snare.
The last gig for “The Zeds” was in October. Rob Appelton replaced Mike Green and the band was re-named”Talkback”. Rob and Pete Simpson had written most of the songs at first, in a similar vein to “The Zeds”. My Paiste 602 cymbals cracked and were replaced by Zildjians.
All was not going well in “Talkback” and by spring Pete Boyd and myself were sacked! The others changed the name of the band to “Pure Thought” and continued on. Pete Boyd always says the band split up, but I seem to remember being sacked for buying a Rainbow album!! (however we were very, VERY drunk at the time). I think it can be put down to “Musical Differences”! It was now time for me to buy a new drum kit. A 5 drum black Ludwig kit (I still have this kit). I sold the other Ludwig to help pay for the new kit . At the end of the year, after working for 6 months as a sound engineer, I hatched plans for a new band “Out Of The East”.
Mick Holloway on drums/vocals, Pete Boyd on bass/guitar/vocals/flute, Bill Terry on bass/guitar/vocals and Bob Winch on guitar made up “Out Of The East”. The story of OOTE can be found on the OOTE home page. Alongside OOTE, Bill, Bob and myself became “The Mandy Morton Band” to play some dates in England and then tour Scandinavia playing 16 gigs in 20 days. On our return we approached Graham Buxton to join OOTE as lead singer. When he joined the band was complete. The band played its first gig in October 1982.
“Out Of The East” played more gigs but then split in the autumn. I sold my Gretsch kit to buy a car and I have regretted it ever since. A new band was formed by myself, Pete Boyd, Graham Buxton and Stuart Pledger, later to become known as “Cheap Sneakers”.
Graham left and Bob Winch joined the new band. A short time later Graham rejoined and brought with him Chris Bartlett to play keyboards. The band was finally named “Cheap Sneakers”. Most of the original songs played by the band were written by Pete Boyd and myself plus a few from the other members of the band. I bought a small Blue Hayman kit and recovered it black so that both my kits could be used together. “Cheap Sneakers” played three gigs then split in August. “PMS” was then formed by Pete Boyd, Mick Holloway and Stuart Pledger but never played a gig.
I got my first keyboard, a Roland RS01 string and organ synth, and started to teach myself to play. I began a song writing partnership with Peter Boyd and we bought a Fostex X15 4 track recorder between us. In August I got married. Towards the end of this year I upgraded my Keyboard to a Yamaha DX9.
Most of this time was spent recording with Pete Boyd. We did however play two gigs, one with me on keyboards, the other at a wedding. We also attempted to form bands with Bob, Stuart, Richard, Rez and others but nothing came of this. I also started to build my studio and I bought lots of equipment..mixer, effects units, compressors, amps, mikes etc. On the recordings with Pete Boyd I played drums and keyboards. Pete played bass, guitar, flute, sax and did all the singing.
I was still recording with Pete and by now we had a Tascam 8 track. I was approached to join a rock/heavy band called “Cheat”. The band is a three-piece with me on drums, Nigel Pink on guitar and the leader of the band Fil Brown on bass and vocals.
“Cheat” played their first gigs but at the end of the year Nigel left and was replaced by Fil’s brother Andy. In the spring Stuart was offered a gig but had no band to play it. So we put together Stuart Pledger, Bob Winch, Pete Boyd, Graham Buxton and myself to play the gig. We called ourselves “Current Event”. The gig was a big success so we decided to continue. In 1989 my first child was born…. “Simon”.
More “Cheat” and a few “Current Event” gigs but, due to Grahams other commitments, “Current Event” splits. I continue with “Cheat” but leave in the summer. I played a one off gig with Stuart in “The Hemingford Band” while still writing and recording with Pete.
Not much happening musically but I was still working with Pete. My second child was born in 1992….”Philip”. He now plays guitar.
I joined a 60s band after answering an ad in the local paper. After a few months Stuart joined and the band became “Matrix”. We played our first gig in November.
The “Matrix” work started to build up and by the end of the year we were playing gigs nearly every week.
Lots of “Matrix” gigs, nearly one a week. Stuart and I attempted to form a band as a sideline to”Matrix” but this upset the others in the band a LOT. The new band, which consisted of me, Stuart, Bill Terry on Bass, Chris on Keyboards and a singer called John never really got going. The keyboard player left and after a few rehearsals the band came to a halt but the seeds of “S.w.a.m.p.” had been sown. We have to wait two more years for that to happen. My third child was born…. “Alice”.
Lots more “Matrix” work. At the end of the year I finally found a Gretsch kit for sale so I traded in my Hayman kit, to buy it. It is 3 drum kit in natural maple finish that I add to later.
Still more “Matrix” gigs. “S.w.a.m.p.” had their first Rehearsal in March..
“Matrix” called it a day in January. Bill Terry was called in for rhythm guitar duties to form “The Timebeats”. Bill leaves “The Timebeats” after just 8 gigs but the band carried on as a three-piece. “S.w.a.m.p.” play their first gig in August at the Blockmore Festival.
More “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs. “The Timebeats” played their last gig on New Year’s Eve 1999.
The New Millennium
More “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs.
More “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs plus 2 gigs in 2002 by “The Timebeats”.
More “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs and a few gigs with “The Timebeats”. I was invited to join a new folk rock band “Flat Earth” with ex members of the band “Shave the Monkey” and we had one or two rehearsals at the end of this year. Bill left “S.w.a.m.p.” and was replaced by Ken Scullard from “The Timebeats”.
Lots of “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs as Ken takes over the bookings for the band. It is decided to change the name of “Flat Earth” back to “Shave the Monkey” and re-launch the band. We had lots of rehearsals but the band did not work out, we parted company on good terms.
The number of “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs is the most we have ever done.
Lots of “S.w.a.m.p.” gigs again this year but by the late Summer it is decided to call it a day. The last Gig was on 29th November 2006 at The King William IV in Fenstanton. A new band was planned and later named “The Kurmujun” This was Peter Boyd on bass, flute, vocals, keyboards and guitar. Michael Holloway on drums and vocals and Stuart Pledger on guitar, vocals and bass pedals. Rehearsals began in October with gigs booked for February 2007. The new band sees the return of the Mick and Pete rhythm section as first seen in 1980 in “”The Zeds”. In October I reached the age of 50 and for my birthday I got a new (to me) drum kit. It is a 1965 Ludwig in Marine Pearl. I finally got around to refurbishing my Gretsch kit. I filled all the holes and re-covered it in Green Sparkle.
In the middle of January, the new band “The Kurmújun” play its first gig at The Rock, Cherry Hinton Rd, Cambridge on Friday, February 9th 2007. More gigs were to follow
In January 2009, “The Kurmújun” became a four piece with the addition of Phil Morgan on vocals. With Phil in the band, we have become more and more successful. Gigging regularly, playing many new venues as some of our old regular haunts were closed down. We seem to have won some respect from other musicians too which is always gratifying to receive. In 2010 I bought various Hayman drums and refurbish them in Green Pearl to make a new kit.
In January 2012, Peter Boyd announced that he was going to leave the band. He played through several more gigs until a replacement could be found. The initial replacement was Bill Terry who we played in S.w.a.m.p., but it soon becaame apparent that he was not as committed to the the band and our gigs as the rest of us…so we parted ways. We then held auditions and found Rob Holloway. An excellent rhythm section partner for me. I start playing some of the keyboard parts on small midi keyboards (this covers the gaps we had without Pete’s flute and keyboards). In early 2012 I take delivery of a new kit, a Ludwig 5 Drum Green Vistalite reissue. Thanks Mum and Dad……