I arrive with my gear and walk straight into an almighty row between the two singer guitarists, Gaynor and Audrey, who decide they can't resolve their differences and are going to split up. What? Gaynor leaves, Jackie, me and Audrey stay together. We choose to add a keyboard player and put an ad in Melody Maker. Lesley Sly, a New Zealander, who is here to further here career as a journalist, finds the ad intriguing and gives us a call. A meeting with Jackie and Audrey at Pizza Hut in Croydon is arranged, they get on well, but are dubious as to whether she plays the keyboards or not because of her long finger nails.
We audition each other at the rehearsal room at Greenwich Swimming Baths, although our tastes are very different we enjoy playing together, so now we are a four piece. Rehearsals begin immediately as there are some Cosmetix gigs to fulfil and we are starting from scratch. We manage to write some instrumentals, do a song I wrote when I was with Janis and Holly 'No Time Toulouse' and then the choice of covers begins - 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number' Steeley Dan, 'Long Train Running' The Doobie Brothers, Elton John's 'All the Young Girls Love Alice', 'Love the One You're With' Crosby Stills and Nash, I went along with all of these but almost ignited when Lesley suggests Gilbert O'Sullivan's 'Get Down'. We all sang and could put together some pretty impressive harmonies. Jackie Crew was very good at this and could reach notes only dogs could hear.
There is a lot of musical freedom in this band, which probably lead to its downfall, but we worked well as a unit. I love playing with Jackie (drummer) she has great attack and I think we had a strong natural connection. Audrey is a fabulous guitarist, wonderful tone, impressive technique, a powerful feel for melody, and a big voice too. Lesley was red hot on the keyboards and along with Audrey gave us nice wide ranging lead vocal possibilities.
I particularly enjoy composing with Lesley, music theory was and is largely a mystery to me, Lesley with her keyboard way of thinking could take me in a direction I would never have been heading, I liked that a lot.
Mother Superior'. The others loved it and that's what we were called.
Some gigs ate up a huge amount of songs, occasionally we had to do 3 x 45 minute sets and in these cases did get a bit desperate for material, at one point we included the theme to the Pink Panther. We added Stevie Wonder's 'Living for the City' and 'Gimme Shelter' by the Rolling Stones, These were two of my favourites. Crosby Stills and Nash's 'Love the One You're With' always went down well. One time we were playing at Wandsworth Prison, Lesley was half way through the introduction to Santana's 'Evil Ways' when we all realised the significance, especially the opening line 'You gotta stop your evil ways...' The inmates found it hilarious.
Our first gig was an American Airbase in Huntingdon, bourbon, men with guns and we manage to get through it without too many duff moments, result.
2nd November we play the Marquee, love to be in that tiny dressing room and walk out onto the stage with the green and white striped canopy where I'd seen so many of my favourite bands play. We went down well and they say they'll have us back. What a thrill.
26th December, Boxing Day in a transit van with two roadies we leave by ferry for Ostende, heading for Germany to play American Airbases in Ashaffenburg. As we are coming ashore we find that we should have completed carnet forms, that lists all the equipment we are carrying, previously we had told by the promoter we did not need to do this. This turns out to be a scam, that many bands are stung by, we have to pay money to the customs before they'll let us in, the tour operator gets his cut. Welcome to the music biz. We have to wait all night on the harbour waiting for the office to open, before we can pay and leave. This makes us really late and broke, we have to drive like crazy, no chance to eat and have to go straight to the gig. We are so tired by the end we fall asleep on the stage while the roadies take the gear out. This is pretty much how the tour went. There was a distinct lack of food and sleep and being vegetarian in Germany was laughable, sometimes I shared a meal with Lesley, she'd eat the meat and I'd get most of the vegetables.