I grew up in South East London and arrived in North East Wales/Cheshire via South West London, Oxford and Liverpool. I have been gigging since the age of 15.
My solo career started at Bunjie’s Folk Cellar near Leicester Square in the early 1970s. Ten years earlier Bob Dylan played there. In 1977, my innovative acoustic punk set was booed at the same venue.
I have been a member of many bands, including:
Nobby Conch. Steve Hammond and I led this band. We declined the offer of a slot at the 1974 Windsor Great Park Free Festival, anticipating trouble with the police, which is what then happened. A lot of gear was smashed, but not ours.
The Dinner Ladies. A pit band for a show at college.
The Quatre Chanteurs De Clapham. Best remembered for an eccentric approach to harmony singing, and for the use of a Stylophone in their opening number, Telstar.
The Wang Dang Doodle Band. Shambolic 13 piece. Attila the Stockbroker once said we were difficult to follow, but as he also said we played heavy metal soul, it isn’t entirely clear what he meant. Wildly popular, but performances were more enthusiastic than accomplished. We broke the fire limit at the Jericho Tavern, Oxford more than once.
Smell The Glove. A short-lived band in Oxford. The other guitarist had been in an early version of Dire Straits (not the successful version, obviously). Extant video shows that we were surprisingly good.
The Bozini Band. An even more transient Oxford supergroup that only ever played one gig, the reception for overseas students at Linacre College.
Fat Al’s Band. Popular on the North West bikers’ circuit, I stayed in Fat Al’s Band for 15 years, playing guitar, keyboards, bass, harmonica and some vocals. Two original members have died recently. Neither fatality was due to Covid nor the rock’n’roll lifestyle.
Going Down Slow. A blues band that never recovered from the sudden death of a member the day after their first recording session. A further non-rock’n’roll fatality.
The Chester Burn-Ettes. Moved through several incarnations, ending up as a high energy blues band.
The Levee Breaks. A blues-rock band that I left because of day job commitments. The band has thrived without me.
Chester and the Pole Cat. A two slide guitars duo that shouldn’t have worked but did. Then “musical differences” intruded, there was a cataclysmic row, and it didn’t seem to work anymore.
Lucas Marks and the Glorious Unknown A six piece folk rock band fronted by an excellent song writer. Five stringed instruments was several too many and I made the ultimate sacrifice.
Robbie and the Goatsuckers Like the Bozini Band, only ever played one gig (my sister’s 60th birthday party) but the bassist and drummer were in the late lamented Chupa Cabra, so it was thrillingly energetic.
The Shadetree Mechanics I front this electric trio, which is meant to be a blues band but which often strays off piste.