Oh well, slightly jaded but not totally intimidated by this lack of success I struggled on.
This time with 3 versions of a band called Larry the Bat (marks 1,2 and 3) with Brian Webber on lead guitar, Keith, his brother, on bass and Chris Comber on percussion and harmony.
Keith left and Baz joined. He was the business. A great bass player and a most formidable character in every sense of the word. Inspirational to say the very least.
At about this time we’d met this guy who had ‘connections’ and he wanted to manage us. He had money and influence and access to the corridors of pop power and he wanted to get us on to Top of the Pops and dress us up in Bat gear. Unfortunately he had absolutely no concern for or conception of what we were and what we were doing and his only asset was his wealth. Many a meeting involved studying reams of contractual nonsense that he was determined to embroil us in. My fondest memory of this period (and this is where Baz comes in) was Baz pissing up the side of this guy’s Rolls Royce after a particularly harrowing evening studying skimpy designs of Bat gear for our next gig.
For me this was a sort of emancipatory gesture that sowed a seed for future acts of rebellion.
The first rung on a ladder of anarchic possibilities that have been growing in me for the last 30 years or so and are just beginning to come to fruition.
Anyway,inspired by Baz’s anarchy and his wonderful bass playing and slightly demoralized by all the difficulties I was now experiencing trying to run a band, I took up the bass and became somebody else’s band member. Seventeen Quid it cost me (the bass I mean) and the only reason I came away with it was because I broke a string when I went to try it.
Anyway it was a great investment and I never looked back. It was like a musical geography lesson for me. I realized there were frets beyond the first 3 and I was beginning to play them.
Musically speaking, I had my 2nd great spurt. The first was being able to finger pick and this second one let me in on some bits of musical theory which had both eluded and terrified me up to this point. So I started playing bass with the Leicestershire legendary blues man Bob Dayfield.
And God did I love it .. the power, the possibilities, the ability to steer and drive the music from the back thrilled me and I got better and better and developed massively during this period as a writer and as a musician.
I was also becoming much more politically aware and finding my feet in terms of what I really wanted to write about. (Next Page)