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It was the soaring sax solos of Dick Parry on Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ that got me itching to play saxophone, join bands and forget the very dreary Electrical apprenticeship I was undertaking at the time. It was then after a rather long alcohol fuelled session in a Huddersfield bar way back when… that I opted to draw a big chunk of my Polytechnic grant out of the bank and headed to Bradford’s legendary ‘Jack Lodge’s sax shop’ to purchase a rather lovely old Selmer Tenor sax.
I got the bug and practiced like mad, ending up attending a very influential (for me) Jazz summer school where I undertook tuition with jazz maestro, Tim Garland.I then explained to my Dad that I was retiring from engineering and headed off on a ten-year stint traveling and living in Bolivia where I gained valuable experience playing with numerous South American musicians. I toured with Martin Joseph’s La Paz Jazz Ensemble and recorded many albums with Bolivian Jazz, a band that fused Andeanmusic and instruments with a more formal jazz combo. Whilst in Bolivia I made many solo treks into the remote High Andes, an experience that remains with me to this day and still informs my playing and approach to music.
Since my return to the UK I have recorded and played with Dhevdhas Nhair’s ‘Myriads’. Have spent many years playing with local guys ‘Red River Blues’ and recently recorded a new album ‘Cabin Tales’ with Nuadha Quartet. I have also had the opportunity to studying under the legendary Jazz sax innovator, Iain Ballamy.I feel a degree of coming full circle to be asked by The Kentish Spires to join the band and contribute my wares on ‘SPREZZATURA' I have enjoyed the experience immensely and humbly hope I have brought to this recording a small amount of what originally got me hooked on this music all those years ago.
I met up with Dan in The Dark Ages, a time before the internet & social media, when I answered an ad in a local paper saying 'New band looking for singer with similar range to Nigel Voyle from Graffitti'. I rang the number, explained who I was and got the job. Dan & I worked as a songwriting partnership for the next 6 years while fronting the band Singapore. We did demo tapes for 6 or 7 of the major record companies and failed to get signed. We disbanded Singapore and continued writing and within 6 months had a contract with Magnet Records. Re-formed Singapore under the name of Just Good Friends to record and gig. It was a short lived contract, so we split yet again and went our separate ways.
Dan & I have worked on various projects over the years. It was Dan who introduced me to Rob Reed, who was a sound engineer at his studio at the time, which led to me becoming the singer in Cyan (Rob's band prior to Magenta).
I also auditioned and got down to the final six to replace Fish in Marillion, we all know how that turned out!!!
About 4 years ago Dan contacted me to see if I would like to sing on an album project (There Was A Crooked Man) he was working on with local musicians in his village. Having done nothing for a while I jumped at the chance. It turned out to be a fun project, short lived but highly enjoyable.
Then, in October 2019 he rang to offer me the position of frontman for TKS as Lucie V was leaving to pursue a career as a session singer.
...and here we are!
My musical education began at junior school trying to learn the violin. I was not very successful but it was a start and by the time I got to 14 or 15, and Dan introduced me to the guitar, I found it reasonably easy to get on with; moving onto bass quite quickly. I was also fortunate to be able to jam with some musical notables at comprehensive school. I played in several teenage bands with Barry (Thunderstick) Purkis and even on and off with Mike Stock (Stock, Aitken and Waterman).
As an adult, playing music took second place to keeping a steady job. I have enjoyed a fascinating international career in telecoms and been well paid for it. Nevertheless, I always maintained an interest in playing. I played bass in cover bands, bands playing original material and church music groups. I also made sure that I kept on writing.
In 2016 Dan and I hooked up again after several years without much contact. Dan wanted to reconnect three of us; himself, Barry (Thunderstick) Purkis and me for the purposes of recording a song. And so we ended up, us three, at The Piggery Studios in Herefordshire recording a song that Barry and I had played together when we were teenagers, That’s The Way It Goes (TTWIG).
That recording went well and got a lot of hits on the Piggery’s website. The next year Dan started to talk to me about a new six piece Prog band that would be based geographically around the Welsh borders and would be musically inspired by the Canterbury sound.
Some time back I purchased a book called The Kingdom of Kent. The book is now very rare but I still have my copy. I am responsible for promoting this interesting subject of the Dark Ages to my fellow band members who, like me, perceive it to be a hitherto untapped source of song material. Three songs based on this theme have appeared on our albums so far. There should be another one on our third album.
To conclude, I believe that my job as bass player is to support the song and so support the other musicians. I occasionally use effects pedals and sometimes play in the upper register but I focus on underpinning the chord / riff structure of each song. It could be said that I am constrained by this but that same constraint propels me to seek some interesting harmony or sub melody.
At around 7 years old my love of keys was ignited by my auntie Edith’s brooding dark mahogany upright piano. After much pestering my parents eventually purchased an ageing piano that needed some love (it didn’t get any). Some of the notes worked at least, others were in tune. In later years I would blame that piano for my lack of technique.
I diligently learnt my scales, musical notation etc. but felt constrained by the inhibiting rules of classical music. In the late 60s and early 70s there was an explosion of musical expression - new music for a new age. In that context somehow Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik didn’t appeal after hearing the breathtaking sound of David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator) on two saxes (at once), Keith Emerson (ELP) on distorted organ, Hendrix on flaming guitar or Chris Squire (Yes) on his throaty triple-necked bass.
I had a growing awareness of, and eclectic taste for, many styles of music whether it be American songbook, folk, modern classical, jazz, madrigals, church music etc. It seemed that Progressive Rock contained many of the elements that excited me, challenged me, caught my ear and seemed important.
When I got my first university expenses cheque I promptly purchased a Hohner electric piano. Very rock’n’roll but not very sensible for an otherwise sensible fellow. I sang in choirs, led music groups, played church organs, joined folk and rock bands and dabbled in soundtrack production. In the 80s and 90s I had some success with TV soundtracks with the help of computers, sequencers, samplers and the like.
After 35 years in an IT career I retired to the country and was surprised to discover a multitude of excellent musicians in the local area, many with an affinity for progressive music. Now was an opportunity to explore further the music that first excited and moved me. The rest will one day be history.
At 9 I was given an acoustic guitar and immediately started writing songs. My first band was 'Danny and the Daleks', formed in the last year of junior school. By 13, I was experimenting with two and four track recorders. The songs although naively written caught the attention of a Beatles' Apple Studios producer. Myself and my brother Adrian were invited to record three tracks at the Fab Four's studio and although nothing came of this session it made such an impression on me that I knew music was going to be my life.
By the early seventies, I dropped out, grew my hair, and formed 'Korig Roots', a three-piece rock outfit gigging local youth clubs and schools. Now 17, I had already supported many leading bands of that era such as Quintessence, Pink Fairies, and one of my favourite acts, Patto.
Mid seventies, sensing a musical change I formed the high-energy punk band Dozy, who were finalists two years running in the Melody Maker band competition. Dozy played the London pub circuit supporting acts such as Boomtown Rats, X Ray Specs, The Skids and Ultravox. Time Out magazine wrote, ‘the two bands who were destined to make it big were Dozy and Dire Straits’.
Well... one out of two isn't bad.
After the demise of Dozy, I formed a melodic rock band called 'Singapore'. I advertised for a singer similar to ‘Nigel Voyle of Graffitti’, Nigel replied and joined. We attracted attention with several major labels taking us into the studios. One was German company, Hansa. Simon Napier Bell produced the session and it was the first time that I really understood the role of a producer. Simon had taken an unfocused track and with lightning editing had turned the track into a great single format.
It wasn't until the early eighties I finally secured my first recording contract. After a very successful appearance at the Reading Festival in '82 Magnet Records signed my next band 'Just Good Friends'. The band split in 1985.
I decided to search for a publishing deal and eventually signed to Zomba where Jim Doyle steered my career towards the TV side of the business. Jim & myself became great friends and to this day Jim continues to handle all aspects of my career.
After years with bands such as Magenta, Godsticks, etc, I joined The Tangent back in 2017, initially for a run of dates in Europe and the USA collaborating with Swedish band Karmakanic, which we called 'Tangekanic'.
After a successful tour and album recorded live in the USA with Tangekanic, I recorded the drums for The Tangent album, 'Proxy', which was well received.
I had then been recommended for covering a few shows with the David Cross Band, which also featured David Jackson (VDGG), who, incidentally, also played on the first Tangent album! We (DCB) recently played the Summer Fog Festival in Poland, with Soft Machine and Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets, great festival and people.
Dan contacted me to cover TKS shows and thankfully, there were no itinerary issues to consider.
So here I am!
Chris Egan: All things blowable
Nigel Voyle: Vocals
Phil Warren: Bass
Rik Loveridge: Keyboards
Danny Chang: Guitars
Steve Roberts: Drums
Photos: © Paul Hornsby & Ian Burgess