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Benjy says...

Dear ROA listener /subscriber/fan,

Great to be back again, the footie is over and now we can get on with the serious business of rocking every Thursday without any interruptions! It's amazing to think that it is 30 years since Boston released their debut album and even more astounding that the band really battled to get a record deal in the first place ... as evidenced by last night's 45 minute special on the band they really were one helluva rock outfit and the newly remastered debut album deserves to be in any self respecting rock fan's collection. Thanks to Cerys Grant at SonyBMG for the 10 albums that she kindly gave us to giveaway on the show ...... Next week's special is the British band Spooky Tooth - most classic rock fans only really know their stunning version of the Lennon/McCartney epic "I am the Walrus" which is requested regularly on Rock of Ages. However there is a lot more to the band and their music as you will hear on next week's show.................

Spooky Tooth

Spooky Tooth were one of Island Records' finest acts, yet never quite scaled the upper echelons of the late 60's / early 70's rock hierarchy. Always a band much loved by writers,critics and fellow musicians, they lacked the commercial sucker punch that would've catapulted them to the toppermost of the poppermost. It didn't stop them making some corking records, however.

The Spooky Tooth story (for those of us who are into this sort of thing), if you want to wax analytical about it, provides the perfect paradigm of how various members of disparate 60's British Beat bands pooled their musical resources and mutated into a psychedelic / progressive outfit. The story begins in summer 1963, in Carlisle, Cumbria, in the far North-West of England. Jimmy Henshaw (guitar, keyboards), Walter Johnstone (drums), Frank Kenyan (guitar) and former export clerk Mike Harrison (vocals) formed a beat combo, and dubbed themselves The VIPs.They added Greg Ridley on bass, who had previously lined up with Dino & The Danubes,The Dakotas and The Ramrods, together with Harrison. They scored a record deal with RCA, who put out their debut single, "She's So Good" / "Don't Keep Shouting At Me" in 1964, both sides being penned by Henshaw. The single is a great slice of sneery Brit R&B, and is now an ultra-rare collector's favourite. From 1965 to 1966 the band were a top club attraction in London, and gigged regularly at the Star Club in Hamburg, garnering a sizeable cult following.

The original VIP's line-up recorded three more singles ("Wintertime" as The Vipps for CBS, plus "I Wanna Be Free" / "Don't Let It Go" and "Straight Down To The Bottom" / "In A Dream" for Island, produced by Island stalwart Guy Stevens) before disbanding. Henshaw, Johnstone and Kenyan were replaced by Luther Grosvenor (guitar), Mike Kellie (drums), and Keith Emerson (keyboards). Emerson had previously been a member of Gary Farr & The T-Bones; this variant of The VIPs gigged for only three months, before Emerson upped and formed The Nice, with Brian "Blinky" Davidson, Lee Jackson and Davy O'List. The remaining quartet changed their name from the by then somewhat anachronistic VIPs, to simply Art ..... Worcester-born Grosvenor had played guitar for The Hellians, whose 1964 single, "Daydreaming Of You", released on Pye subsidiary Piccadilly, was produced by maverick West Coast genius / madman /charlatan Kim Fowley. The Hellians, if I may digress still further, boasted the nascent talents of both Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi, who would, of course, go on to form Island mainstays Traffic with Steve Winwood, and a young Poli Palmer, who latterly rattled the Joanna for Family and seminal psych rockers and perennial Rock of Ages faves,Blossom Toes. Back to Art who cut one album, "Supernatural Fairy Tales", also produced by Guy Stevens released in 1967. The bands lineup was swelled by the addition of American Gary Wright in October 1967, which initiated a name change - Art became Spooky Tooth.

Wright was born in New Jersey, and had been a child actor, before studying psychology. It was these studies which brought him to Europe initially. The vocal and keyboard interplay between Wright and Harrison is what characterised the Spooky Tooth sound. The debut album, "It's All About", released in May 1968, featured the band's blistering reading of the John D. Loudermilk classic "Tobacco Road", always a live showstopper, and their debut single, "Sunshine Help Me". The latter so enamoured Brummie poppers The Move that they cut their own version on the live "Somethin' Else" EP. It's inevitable that the band's heavily Hammond organ-saturated sound drew comparisons with Island stablemates Traffic; after all, the various band members had worked together in other outfits, but Winwood & Co had the head start in terms of record releases and chart success. Moreover, both Traffic and Spooky Tooth shared producers in the shape of Jimmy Miller, so such sonic similarities are perhaps less of a surprise. If anything, Spooky Tooth were darker and doomier, although their strongly melodic rock set them apart from their contemporaries. The band's penchant for road work ensured that they built up a loyal club following in the UK, but it was in the USA that the band enjoyed greater commercial success. "It's All About" was renamed "Tobacco Road" for the US, and belatedly made no.152 in the US album charts in August 1970.

Spooky Tooth

The original Spooky Tooth line-up cut two further albums for Island, "Spooky Two" (Island ILPS 9098, released March 1969) and "Ceremony" (Island ILPS 9107, released January 1970), the latter being unusually distinguished by featuring French electronics wizard Pierre Henry. By "Ceremony" Greg Ridley had left Spooky Tooth already for Humble Pie and the bass parts were played by Andy Leigh. The band, however, regarded the album as "an utter failure", and claimed that after two and a half years, they had slipped into "stale, predictable music and creative demoralisation", and promptly split in' February 1970.Following the demise, Gary Wright formed the band Wonderwheel (who boasted guitar ace Jerry Donahue in the original line-up, replaced in turn by Mick Jones, who had been musical director with French rock and roller Johnny Hallyday), Wonderwheel lasting from April 1971 to September 1972. The rest of the band didn't take long to get out of the slough of despondency they seemed to have descended into post-"Ceremony"; in Autumn 1970, Harrison, Governor and Kellie reconvened under the Spooky Tooth banner, with the addition of ex-Grease Band members Alan Spenner (bass) and Henry McCullough (guitar) replacing Ridley and Wright to record' "The Last Puff" (Island ILPS 9117, July 1970). John Hawke (ex-Nashville Teens keyboard man - it was the 'teens who had the original UK chart hit with "Tobacco Road") and Steve Thompson (bass) joined the others to tour the record. "The Last Puff", despite the line-up changes, was still a fine album, with the band's storming version of "I Am The Walrus" kicking things off energetically. They also showed great taste in covering David Ackles' aching "Down River", as well as a spirited version of Elton John's "Son Of Your Father". The band folded again shortly afterwards, however.

Spooky Tooth

After this (again albeit temporary) hiatus, Mike Harrison utilised the services of Carlisle band Junkyard Angel to back him on his eponymous solo debut (October 1971), and also cut a second solo work, "Smokestack Lightning" (1972). Luther Grosvenor after a period of recuperation and songwriting in Spain, recorded a solo album, "Under Open Skies" (October 1971), before joining Stealers Wheel for their last six months. After that, he replaced Mott The Hoople lead guitarist Mick Ralphs, joining the band at their commercial peak, having been renamed "Ariel Bender" by the Mott main man Ian Hunter. After splitting from Mott to be replaced for a valedictory single by ex Spider From Mars Mick Ronson, he formed Widowmaker with former Love Affair vocalist Steve Ellis. Mike Kellie went on to rattle the traps with Peter Frampton's Camel, as well as lots of session work. By September 1972, however, with neither Wright nor Harrison's solo ventures stirring up much commercial paydirt, the band again decided to get back into the ring as Spooky Tooth. Apart from Wright and Harrison, the line-up that recorded "You Broke My Heart...So I Busted Your Jaw" (May 1973) featured Mick Jones (guitar, vocals), Bryson Graham (drums), and ex-Junkyard Angel Ian Herbert (bass), and lasted from September 1972 to March 1973. Jones and Graham had worked with Wright in Wonderwheel. "You Broke..." was again a reasonably successful album, Stateside; it reached number 84 in May 1973, and the album was toured and enthusiastically promoted by the band. Kellie was welcomed back into the fold to record "Witness". (Nov. 1973 ), the band's last album for the label . This line-up lasted until February 1974, when Harrison, split for good, eventually cutting a solo album,entitled "Rainbow Rider" (August 1975). His place was taken by Mike Patto ( who had fronted Timebox, his own eponymous band and Boxer) and the band decamped to New York, but by now the Spooky Tooth plot was severely lost. The band stuttered on until September 1974, cutting a final album, "The Mirror" (October 1974). By this time, Wright was the only original member of the band, Kellie and Ellis jumping ship, replaced by Bryson Graham (again!) and Val Burke.

So, the band rather ignominiously ground to a halt by September 1974. The final line-up saw Mick Jones first join ex-Mountain guitarist Leslie West's band, before throwing in his lot with former King Crimson keyboards / horns man Ian McDonald in the massively successful Foreigner; Mike Patto eventually succumbed to throat cancer in 1979; Bryson Graham and Burke went back to session work. Mike Kellie turned up in The Only Ones, another great lost band of the 1970s. Gary Wright signed with Warner Brothers as a solo act, and struck immediate platinum with the hugely successful "The Dream Weaver" (July 1975). Follow-ups didn't scale the same commercial heights, although he remained a recording artist until the late 1980's. So that was the Spooky Tooth story. The band are still fondly remembered as one of the great live acts of their time who never earned their commercial due. They bequeathed some great records, and bizarrely enough, their name would latterly accrue notoriety following an infamous US court case, wherein one of the band's songs - "Better By You, Better By Me", covered by Sheffield heavy metal band Judas Priest, resulted in a court case following the death of two fans in a "back masking" controversy. Courtesy of

1967 - Supernatural Fairy Tales
1968 - Its All About
1969 - Spooky Two *
1970 - Ceremony (with Pierre Henry)
1970 - The Last Puff *
1971 - Tobacco Road (It's All About)
1973 - You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw *
1973 - Witness
1974 - The Mirror *
1999 - Cross Purpose
2000 - Comic Violence
2001 - BBC Sessions

* Recommended

Pink Floyd "Pulse" competition

Last chance to enter the fantastic Pink Floyd "Pulse" online competition, you can win 1 of 12 double packs comprising of the brand new "Pulse" 2 disc dvd as well as the album ... click here to enter. The winners will be announced on next week's show (3rd August).

Rock of Ages turns 2!!!!

We have been celebrating our 2nd birthday throughout June and July with tons of competition prizes courtesy of the following wonderful people and labels: Nigel King and Cerys Grant @ SonyBMG; Josi Kruger @ Universal; Charise Matthews @ Gallo Music; Adrian Skirriw @ ASP Records; Rob Cowling @ Sheer Music; Gillian Ezra @ EMI Records.

Rock on until we meet again ...


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World of Rock
More rock on Radio 2000 Suffering from Rock withdrawal symptoms on a Tuesday night? Well then tune the dial el pronto to Barney Simon's show between 8 and midnight every Tuesday on Radio 2000 (or R2K as Barney calls it) for the best in South African rock plus gig guide, albums reviews, demos, new releases, news from around the country and much more ...... Unmissable!

Richards The Pirate Keith Richards is to have a cameo role in the third 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' movie, due to go into production next month. He'll play Captain Jack Sparrow's dad. Sparrow, of course, is portrayed by Johnny Depp, who always claimed that he'd based his characterisation to some extent on the Rolling Stones legend. Meanwile back at the ranch Keef is on the verge of being pardoned for a traffic offence which occurred more than 30 years ago. In July 1975, the Stones legend was fined $162 for reckless driving in Arkansas. Now, the new governor of the state is ready to wipe the slate clean. Does this have anything to do with the fact that the governor, Mike Huckabee, plays bass in a band?

Maiden Star To The Rescue Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, who is a qualified pilot, helped to airlift 200 British citizens back to the UK from Cyprus. This was part of a major operation to rescue British citizens caught up in war torn Beirut.

A Letter From Antiproduct The Members of AntiProduct, on their recent return from recording and networking with the rich and powerful in Los Angeles, were stopped on their arrival into Heathrow Int'l Airport by Customs Agents in the 'Nothing To Declare' lane. What the band had failed to mention in their arrival documents were the 600 red and black striped Jungle Rocket vibrators they were carrying in their suitcases, courtesy of their good friends at, sponsors of the First Official Masturbate-a-thon in London on August 5, promoting Safe Sex. The airport all but came to a standstill when the customs dude got to suitcase number three with all the vibrators in it, like in that Western when the bad guys ride into town. It took all of singer A. Product's Chicago bullshitting skills to talk the band's way outta the mess. But more than that, the looks on the tourists passing us by were priceless, with all these vibrators and their attachments spilling like little hand grenades. One Japanese couple actually threw themselves on the floor, screaming! Using the desperate ploy of telling the absolute truth, the band were eventually able to make clear that the vibrators are part of a upcoming promotional campaign , heralding the release of the AntiProduct's version of the Beach Boys' classic 'Good Vibrations', and not the weaponry of terrorism either through violence or the sale of black market sex toys. After the band's release it was reported that several of the vibrators had gone walkies, and one female and two male Customs Agents were seen with knowing grins!"

Audioslave reveals bonding session New Audioslave album "Revelations" out early September. Listen to the new single "Original Fire" at Meanwhile it's now been confirmed that Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell is to perform the main song for the upcoming James Bond movie 'Casino Royale'. This song's to be called 'You Know My Name', which Cornell also co-write with David Arnold.

21st Century Boston BOSTON leader Tom Scholz spent eight non-stop days earlier this year remixing the Boston and Don't Look Back albums for reissue on CD, and says he couldn't be happier. Scholz was always unhappy about how his music sounded on CD, and he told us that his hard work paid off, and he's finally satisfied: "I've always wanted to fix the sound on these CDs. I was really happy with the way those albums sounded back in the '70s on vinyl and tape, but I never liked the way they sounded after they were transferred to 16-bit CDs. This gave me the opportunity to, sort of, bring those mixes into the 21st Century."

Live Gigs
Arno Carstens (with Albert Frost)

6th August Obs Cafe,Observatory

Boulevard Blues Band

29th Flaming Fox-Parklands
30th Die Boer, Durbanville
2nd/6th August Bertie's Mooring, Gordon's Bay
8th August Dorp Street Theatre, Stellenbosch


29th July Mystic Boer, 3 Victoria Street, Stellenbosch
3 August Oppikoppi, Most Amazing Main Stage

Josie Field

2nd August 88 Lounge, Norwood

Levi's Vintage Sundays

30th Love Jones/Rudimentals @ The Green Dolphin, V&A Waterfront

Red House

5th August Rocky Ridge, Ramsgate

Robin Auld

5th August Railway House, Muizenberg

Zen Arcade

4 August The Bohemian, Richmond, JHB

Cool Runnings, Cape Town 5th August Live modern rock featuring Zenith, Gnolium and Soltree

Jack Hammer

21st July Die Blou Hond, Linden
28th July Steak & Ale, Centurion
29th July Pierneef Theatre
4/5th August Oppikoppi
25th August Café Barcelona, Pretoria

Jim Neversink Tour

27 July - Steak And Ale - Pretoria (with Josie Field)
28 July - EVOL - Cape Town
3 August - Upper Level - Stellenbosch (with Diesel Whores)
4 August - Mercury Live in CT (with Diesel Whores)
5 August - Radium Beer Hall (Norwood/Orange Grove)
6 August - Oppikoppi (Northam)
11 August - Back 2 Basix (with Josie Field) (Westdene)
12 August - The Bohemian (Richmond)
19 August - Bourbon Street - Potchefstroom

Julian Laxton Band
"Legends in Rock"

18/19 August Welkom Civic Centre (tickets@Computicket)
Saluting Legends like Clapton, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Status Quo, Bad Company, Santana, Rolling Stones, Freedoms Children, Hawk, Julian Laxton, etc

Rock Evolutions - V & A Waterfront's Theatre @ The Pavilion 21st July to 27th August (Thurs, Fri & Sat evenings only)
(Show chronicles the development of rock music in all shapes and forms... starting with the 50s' pioneering days of blues and 12-bar rock 'n roll and concluding with the current heavily-amplified nu-metal rock. There are visits along the way to the British Invasion & Psychedelic Rock of the 60s, the theatrical Stadium rock of the 70s, the glam and hard rock of the 80s and the 90s grunge & alternative revolution).

Back on Track
Every Saturday @ Cheetah's, Brackenfell CT from 5.30pm-play 60's/70's blues and rock
You say it's your birthday...
July 28
Rick Wright -Pink Floyd - 1945
Steve Morse - Deep Purple - 1948
Simon Kirke - Bad Company - 1949

July 29
John Sykes - Whitesnake - 1959
Patty Scialfa - E Street Band - 1953
Neal Doughty - REO Speedwagon -1946
Geddy Lee - Rush - 1953

July 31
Bob Welch -Fleetwood Mac - 1946
Bill Berry - R.E.M. - 1959
Hugh McDowell - Electric Light Orchestra - 1953

Courtesy of About ClassicRock

Birthday archives


"Benjy says..." Archive

Stay tuned every Thursday 8-12pm for the best in classic rock on RADIO 2000.

Your Host

Benjy Mudie
Benjy Mudie with Void in the late 70's Benjy Mudie 2004
Then Now

Of Scottish origin, Benjy Mudie started out in the music industry working in record shops. He later became the A&R man for WEA records, signing such luminaries as Lesley Rae Dowling, Baxtop and Falling Mirror. He has ventured briefly into the realms of songwriting, getting co-writing credit for Little Sister's song 'You Got My Heart', but it is mainly for his running of record labels, notably Tusk and more recently Fresh and Retro Fresh that he is honoured. With these labels he has tirelessly dedicated himself to putting South African music out there, showing an unshaking belief in the quality of SA music.


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