Dave Potts Interview - August 1999
Back in August 1999 I took this interview with Dave Potts. I took a long time to write up but I personally found it fascinating. Thanks Dave.
When I was going over it with Dave he said he thought you might find it hard to follow as reading back he had that trouble. I would therefore welcome any comments on the subject. Especially tips on how to improve it's readability. It is very difficult to judge the level of knowledge the average person reading this page needs. If you give up before getting to the bottom. I would love to know why. Just e-mail Me and I will try and improve it for future interviews.
JH - What bands have you actually played for?
DP - A Band in 1966 called the Crying Shames. They had a top 20 hit. I didn't play on the hit but I joined them half way through the success. It was managed by Brian Epstein. It was a good leap out of school into that. Then after that a band called Skip Bifferty. They were an underground band that lots of other bands like Yes respected. A lot of good bands at the time were doing covers that the band did. Now one of them went on to be with Peter Frampton's Camel. One of them went to be with Roy Young. Graham Bell I think went off on a tangent to LA. Oh and the drummer that joined them when I left was Alan White. When I left I had the choice of staying with them but they were moving to the Isle of Wight and we had some management problems and I wanted to stay with my girlfriend in London. So Alan White joined them. From there Alan White got the session with John Lennon doing Instant Karma.
JH - Yes and then he went on to be with Yes.
DP - Yes that's right and I was actually with Yes for about a week. What it was, was they were looking for a drummer and I lived with Jon Anderson. I rehearsed with them for about a week. At the end of the week they had to make a decision about which drummer they kept and Jack Barry tells me that he suggested they keep this drummer called Tony Kelly that used to be with the Koobas. And although nobody knows about him being in the band, or me, but it was between the two of us. He was 22 and I was 18. And Jack said he suggested keeping Tony Kelly in the band because he was more level headed. If a 22 year old can be more level headed. So that was a little kick. What happened after that erm....
JH - Ten Years After?
DP - Yeah that was a little while after. Yeah, Ten Years After. I lived with Alvin Lee. We did an album at Alvin's House that never got released. At least I don't think it did. When it was finished erm.. They were bickering all the way through it and wanted to split up because they were all rich and successful. I kept talking them back into it because I wanted a big house in the country too. And they kept going Yeah, yeah, yeah. But then about six months down the line when the album was all finished Alvin called me in and said I will form a band with you but I don't want all that hassle with Chick or Leo. And you can quote me on this because they are playing together now. I came up with the name Ten Years Later. I want the copyright on that because I know Alvin used it at some point. I got no benefit from it other than the experience.
JH - You played with them Live?
DP - No we were supposed to do ten weeks tour supporting with Peter Frampton when he released that double album Peter Frampton Comes Alive that he had a big success with. We had ten weeks in the States doing that, we also had some dates lined up in Germany but it never got to that point. The band just split up.
I was in Love Affair but that was the reformation. Although I knew Steve Ellis and all the original guys and the drummer Morris Bacon. They were managed by his dad Sid Bacon. But then they formed like a moody version of the band with no original members. We were doing Cabaret and things like that but I had just got married and we did a gig (laughs).
I did a Ray Thomas album. Now that charted. That was called from "Mighty Oaks" and I did that. I am in the "History of Rock" for that album.
Barbie Benton - I did a tour went to LA. Rehearsed in LA with her for two weeks then did a months tour of Europe with her. Televised and everything very big in Europe. Very big up front as well!
While I joined Ten Years After, they let me go back to the States for Bruce Payne again to do a months tour of America. So that's how I saw America you know? But he wasn't really that big.
I played with Ozzy Osbourne for a week. I went for an audition at Rockfield. I don't know how I never got it. Ozzy asked me to play on a number with Randy Rhodes and Bob Daisly and after 3 minutes Ozzy was saying. "Your the drummer. Your the drummer". I said "Take your time. Let see how it works out over the week" But all we seemed to do after that one day's rehearsal was go running and get pissed. We never went in again after that. I don't actually know what went wrong. Ozzy seemed a nice guy. But that didn't seem to work out.
JH - Why did you learn to play drums?
DP - It seemed like it was the easiest instrument to play to get attention from woman! It's as simple as that.
JH - And when did you start?
DP - At about 10 I was playing on biscuit tins. I was using an old 78 speed record as a cymbal and a biscuit tin. When I was about 12 I got my first kit. By the time I was 14 I was doing proper gigs in pubs and everywhere. But I had to sit in the dressing room as I was too young to go in the pub. While I was at school I was actually earning a living as a drummer. Yeah it was good that. I actually had more success in my Teens than after that really. It was all going really well. If I had handled it properly I could probably have done really well. I left the Crying Shames which could lead to other things even if the band didn't do well. And I was probably about 18 or 19. I was good in those days. I mean what I am doing now and what people are doing now I was doing then but I haven't really improved that much. It's just that nobody was doing it then. Everyone was really basic.
JH - Can you still play piano and guitar?
DP - Er no not really. Although what I would say is, O.K. I could read a book of all the Beatles songs and play it on Guitar. And I could play a lot of "Rhonda" the way the Knights used to play it. Not some of the complicated bits but a lot of it and I could jam in G. But know I think I would need about a years rehearsal to do that!
JH - There was the questionnaire you did 1980 for the fan club. Any comments?
DP - Date of Birth 1955. I lied about my age!
JH - Really? So how old are you? 49 Now?
DP - Yeah. So it should have been 1950. Occupation Clothes Salesman. Yeah sort of I messed about for around 9 months. Why did you choose your instrument? Because everyone else wanted to play guitar. (Laughs) That wasn't true. I think it was because it was easier. Or I thought it was easier. The only problem was it was difficult to rehearse because of the noise. Favourite bands - The Eagles Oh good I am glad I said that. Favourite Singer female - Dionne Warwick and Streisand. Did I say that! F**k me what planet was I on. Oh mind you there have been a lot of singers since then. Favourite Film Star - Charles Bronson! No way I can't have that! Favourite food and drink - Steak & Perrier Water! Ha, ha, ha. Do you still believe in Father Christmas?! Steak I will go with. Perrier Water is a f**king load of bollocks. Actually allowing for time changing things that is still fairly the same yeah.
JH - It's just you erased five years!
DP - It's just that I like different actors now. I like Di Niro, Al Pachino. Ah there's loads of them good intense actors. It won't be Charles Bronson but maybe in the day. It's amazing what you say all those years ago. I don't know how I put Perrier Water. Because I tell you, I have always been a raving f**king drinker. It must have been a dig or something because although I now have water in the fridge (because I never drink it!) I would never have had mineral water back then.
JH - So how did you become involved with Mantis then?
DP - There was an advert in Melody Maker and it was a Box Ad. You knew anyone with a box ad could be half serious about getting something together. And the name of the band was Praying Mantis which was a stance in martial arts. And I was sitting there reading this, this is true this, I was sitting there thinking I am probably too old because I was 30 at the time but I was looking pretty good and slim and I was thinking "Should I phone them up" And the phone rings. And the week I spent with Ozzy the guy that was looking after my drums was also a bit of a drummer had gone down for a bit of a blow with Mantis. He phoned me up and said this band Praying Mantis are great. And I went "I am just looking at the ad" He went "They are just up your street. Phone them up". It was Sandra (That ran the fan club, I assume) that answer and she said blah, blah, blah "How old are you?" I said 26 and when walked in the guys said "So you are 26?" I went "Yeah, yeah, yeah." Then I decided I had better be honest as I can't carry it when I am old "No I am 30" They said "Oh well you don't look it." And I got the gig. And I thought all we have got to do now is get a good singer in the band and a good keyboard player and we will be great. So just take Chris and Tino which was basically Praying Mantis. You know what I mean? I knew that was Praying Mantis and I just always thought that because Rainbow were going at the time and I loved what they where they were going. Not to copy that but I always thought there was so much more range and why have two guitars? Why have two drummers or two bass players? So I always thought a good keyboard player that could sing and a good vocalist that was not tied down by anything. Not only that but the way Tino used to run about you know we only needed Tino and a front man. And Chris could hold it down tight if he didn't want to leap about. And I figured that would have been a good band. But it took, you know it wasn't my band and it took me a good 6 months before I felt I was safe in the band. I didn't want to start rocking the boat from the beginning so I just went along with the plot. Funny when we did change it all everybody didn't like it. So when we did get the singer and the keyboard player the record companies were saying we had lost our "X" factor. So it just shows you, you have got to be shit to get a record deal.
JH - Well I was listening to the album on the way down and trying to consider weather it should be my favourite album or all time or remain my second (To Black Sabbath's Technical Ecstasy). And I think it is because it is so different and the vocalist aren't particularly good singer. It's different. It's original.
DP - Yeah my ex-wife says exactly the same thing as you and I can see that but what annoyed me. It never annoyed me about them. What annoyed me was we took about 5 days to get a drum sound, which was ridiculous and it wasn't a drum sound it was shit. It wasn't like a drum sound "Oh yes!" If it was that album with a great drum sound on it I could live with that but it was this woollen drum sound you know? And to me it, again from a selfish drummers point of view, was. If the sound was like the Live album that will come out in Japan. That to me would have made the album. Even to you it would have given it that edge because you would have liked that. You would probably have thought "Oh the drums sound good on that". Where as now you probably don't even notice them.
JH - Yeah but then I don't really notice drums or bass.
DP - Yeah but we could have been exactly the same album with exactly the same thing but then people would say the drums and bass are good as well. Nobody would go who the fuck are playing drums and bass. Yeah OK it's not a big thing when it comes to selling an album but when you are a drummer or bass player it means a lot to you. Especially after the work you put in. I mean this guy, I mean I must have recorded loads of albums and never took spent the time that this guy made me spend getting the drum sound that turned out so bad. Do you see what I mean? If we had taken a day and I got that sound I would have thought that is fair enough it was a days work. But it was like 5 days looking for that sound and we could have got it in 5 seconds. And in the middle of a number he would go "Stop! the lug on you snare drum is loose." And I would check and it was. He would even know which nut it was! I was hoping at the end I would get this great big John Bonham drum sound. John Bonham probably practiced on biscuit tins and 78's and got the drum sound I got on that album. I know from the point of view of the overall thing it doesn't come into it but to me I can't understand it. When you hear this drum sound from Time Tells No Lies in Japan it is like chalk and cheese. So that's what I didn't like and not only that he wouldn't let me in the control room.
JH - When I was listening on the train it still gives me a good feeling in my stomach. I love it so much that album it's really odd.
DP - Under different circumstances. He took it from me. Mind you when come in on Cheated same as Running For Tomorrow. I wrote the music to that and the lyrics and the lyrics were a bit pony. And I wrote the lyrics. So when I have left the backing track I am expecting to comeback with my lyrics on it as well. Which Bernie (Shaw) always took the piss out of. When I got back Chris had written the lyrics for Running For Tomorrow which I just thought was fantastic. You know it is all about the fox "Running through the wilderness". When I heard that I went "Woh!" And the vocals and the harmonies that is where Tim Friese-Green came into his own. And Cheated we just put down as a backing track. I had no idea what was going on top it was just music. I went away and when I came back week or two weeks later I went wow! Because I expected the song to be O.K. but that surprised me you know. I did think that was a potential hit song "Cheated" Forget all the we wrote Cheated because. We did record "I Surrender".
JH - You did? That's another thing I couldn't understand why isn't it on Demorabilia?
DP - This chap had some incredibly goods ideas! You know "Tell Me The Nightmares Wrong"? That was one of my ideas. I listened to this at Chappell and I said to the boys we should put it into the act. It could be a hit, right. Well with "I Surrender" Bob Keane said he had heard this record with Island records which was written by Russ Ballard. "Come and have a listen". He played us I Surrender. I went "F**k me that's brilliant". So he went "You want to do that?" I went "Yeah Bob your got good ears. That's gonna be a hit that". We went in the studio. We did the whole backing track. The first verse and the Chorus and then when we were ready to do the next overdub for the next verse the phone went and it was Bob Keyne "Scrape I Surrender. Rainbow have decided to do it." So we had got no chance.
JH - Right so you had only partially recorded it?
DP - Yeah we had recorded the whole backing track the verse refrain and chorus and then stopped it there. We just scraped it because we couldn't compete with Rainbow and it was also up to Russ Ballard who did it.
JH - And Cheated isn't actually about that song is it? It's just a standard love song.
DP - Yeah that's exactly what I thought it was. When the lads came out with that I think they just thought "I've been cheated my hearts been bruised" and it's just a love song. They thought "Oh what we could do for publicity " is say that. Which I think is bollocks.
JH - So which was your first recording with Mantis?
DP - Praying Mantis/High Roller and I really like the drumming on that Praying Mantis track.
JH - I can't recall if I know who else is on that.
DP - It's Tino, Chris, Bob Sawyer and me. And Bob Sawyer wrote High Roller. Have you heard the drumming on that Praying Mantis? It's good drumming you know that mate!
JH - Do you know why Rock'n'Roll Fever became your 30 Pieces Of Silver?
DP - Rock'n'Roll Fever?? (Long Pause) I will be honest with you no. I don't know who wrote "Daaah da da dum. Du da da du dah" (i.e. the main riff. I then played him a bootleg where it was played). That was Tino. The lyrics came because of a tour manager. So I started off with "Psychological Warfare, ruling the day. Those political head games we have to learn to play." I gave Tino all of these lyrics. When he came up with that I thought that was an original when he did it. So I thought when he went "Daaah da da dum." this is quick! So when he was doing little bits where I was going (He drums out a break) that was me doing that but that fits with exactly what we have here. What was the song called?
JH - Rock'n'Roll fever.
DP - I have obviously heard the song before and never realized it. This was before me.
JH - Yes it was 1979.
DP - With Mick Ransom. He couldn't play that drumming there is no question of that right. If you think he could play you are in the wrong business! These ideas now. Because we were going along in the van. And we had the tour manager right at the gig. And I thought all these f**king games! "Divisive with a passion" and "Judas men on chariots" Because it was all games going on. And because I was feeling creative I wrote a song about it. He didn't know. And I wrote it. And I went to Tino what do you think of these lyrics? And then he came up with that music and I really thought it was instant! No wonder he wanted to do it in Japan.
(Dave starts wondering about why he hasn't noticed royalties for the song. Apparently because it was a B side. He then mentions about writing credits and jumps to)
On one of the songs on "Demorabilia" called "Over and Over" I am not credited as writing that. That's all about Clive (Burr). Now I wrote the first verse going "When you're up their in the lights. Do the Crowd reflect your dreams? Over and over what you say to me don't make sense to me" And they didn't remember we were sitting in John Bavin's flat. And he was playing the music "Dah da dah da dum. Der da da der dum" and I was thinking about Clive because I had him leaning in my ear every minute. I didn't write every line but you know when you start something off and you come in with things and you are leaning it your way "When you're up their in the lights. Do the Crowd reflect your dreams? Over and over what you say to me don't make sense to me" which was Clive talking to me.
(We get back to "30 Pieces Of Silver" as he reads the lyrics)
DP - I have been trying to get that word divisive in a song for years! I will tell you for why. My mate was sitting at a restaurant. He was a very educated guy. He went to drama school. He was sitting in this restaurant very loud and obnoxious. And this guy said to him at the end of the evening when he paid his bill. "Excuse me, do you know the meaning of the word divisive?" "No, not really" "Because that is what you have been all evening." and left. And when we were looking through all the dictionaries we couldn't find it. It was just "with evil intent" and politicians use it all the time. And I thought that's a great word that I will stun a few people and that's why I got it in there.
JH - Can recall anything about recording "High Roller" and "Praying Mantis"
DP - Yeah it was er Wessex. It was Alan somebody who produced it. I remember doing it. I remember the session. It's more in my mind than I am able to describe but I can remember that. I mean not like if it was yesterday.
JH - Would you have gone in with the songs written?
DP - Yeah we did. We were using Praying Mantis on stage. And in fact the solo of it, I used to have to count the bars of, to come out of it. It wasn't something I felt. That's probably why there is no drum fill all the way through the guitar solo.
JH - So was High Roller played live as well?
DP - Yeah we used to do that live as well. Actually when I heard that the other day I thought it was ten times better than when we were recording it. It was sort of one of them, when we were recording it. But I liked Praying Mantis when we were recording that. I still to this day like the drumming on that. I like the feel of it. If think if we did it now with what we know now it would sound good.
JH - It's interesting that that one was dropped so quickly because Angel Witch had their one. Iron Maiden had theirs. Praying Mantis only had it as a single and not on the album.
DP - Yeah. I never thought of that!
JH - You didn't sort of make an anthem of it.
DP - Yeah that's right. I don't know why that didn't happen I really don't know.
JH - I wonder if it is because "Flirting With Suicide" was about a Praying Mantis and they felt that was better?
DP - Yeah I must admit I would have taken "All Day And All Of The Night" off the album and used that. In fact I would have preferred it to several of the songs. I like that song. Mind you I was going to say if a good producer got hold of it.
JH - That one came out recently on a compilation CD.
DP - Did it? That came out originally with Gem didn't? They released it and we didn't sign with them. That was when all of the politics went on. You know we did the deal with Gem. They released it. We hadn't signed the contract. We went and had a big party some place and then Arista came on the scene and we signed to Arista instead. And Gem had put it out and done everything. So that was all management and nothing to do with us musicians.
JH - Moving on to the Time sessions. How did you decide who was going to do vocals on what? I mean why is Steve on two tracks and Chris on others?
DP - I never had anything to do with it. I left that to them.
JH - Why did they move them around? Tino seems to have been the main singer.
DP - I think we had Bob Sawyer doing his thing, Chris doing his thing, Tino doing his I don't know why who was doing what. I presume it was because of the key it was in. When I went off and left them to do the album. When I came back, Steve was singing Cheated and Running For Tomorrow. I actually thought his voice was OK. It had a little bit of an edge to it. But how they arranged to do that, I wasn't apart of those decisions.
JH - Right because you had laid down your drums and there was nothing else for you to do? So you hadn't been doing those tracks live then.
DP - No they were done in the studio because Cheated we had written the backing track to. It never had any melody or lyrics and they did that while I was away. Running For Tomorrow, while I had written the music and the lyric. While I was away they changed the lyric completely so it was a completely different song and mmm I can't remember who was singing the original lyric. My lyric was actually a bit moody for the band. And when I came in and they said "What do you think of this?". And Steve was singing it and it was ten times better than I had envisaged. But why they had picked him. Maybe he had done Cheated and they thought he would do a good job of Running For Tomorrow.
JH - Yeah Steve is credited with writing on that one.
DP - On Cheated he did yeah. So maybe he sang Cheated and Tino had gone something like "Oh for F**k sake you sing something". That went well so they gave him Running too. I will tell you a number you don't know. Have you heard "Your Number"?
JH - Yes it's on Demorabilia
DP - Oh of course. Do you know how we wrote that Tino and I? I turned up at Tino's flat. This was when he had split up with Sandra. When he was on his own.
JH - Oh so that is who the Sandra Vermeulen on "Panic In The Streets" was?
DP - Yeah. On Your Number we wrote it and I knew what it he implied. It went "It's been so long since you've been gone". And I knew straight away it was all about that and I clocked straight in with him. We were supposed to be going out that night but instead we ended up completely writing that song. And I think it is a really good song. Maybe for another band. Not for Praying Mantis but that's another story.
JH - So Running For Tomorrow was about a fox. Beads Of Ebony about a seal. Flirting With Suicide about a Praying Mantis. Are there any other animals on the album?
DP - No but Children Of The Earth is obviously about the rain forests and all of that. About saving the planet you know. This was 1980, so when you think it the band were quite ahead on ecological matters.
JH - What was Panic In The Streets then?
DP - I think that was more the violence that goes on in the streets. I never really got into what that was about.
JH - I think that was the track that keyed me into the album because I was reading Dr Who And The Darleks Invasions Of Earth.
DP - "Oh the freedom fighters out there on the Streets"
JH - That's it
DP - "Searching like Vampires" Oh it's about a vampire. Is it?
JH - I don't know to me it just went well with the Earthlings trying to reclaim the Earth back from the Darleks.
DP - No sorry Lovers To The Grave is about Vampires. I am not sure what it is about actually. But Lovers To The Grave is about Vampires, if you listen to the words. Chris wrote that in his own lunch time. So he is a legend in his own lunch time! He took a dinner break and he wrote that song And my ex-wife said that makes you a legend in your own lunch time! Can you believe it?
JH - So what is 30 Pieces Of Silver about?
DP - That was about a tour manager that just created. I mean like Judas betrayed everybody right? So that's where "Judas men on chariots. Both faces to the crowd". But where it was "Psychological warfare, ruling the day" meaning. What it was, was the tour manager was being divided between the manager and the band. I know at the end of the day the band are paying the wages but it is coming from the manager. But when we were getting up and dealing with him he was playing all these psychological games with us. I have known this guy for about twenty years and have never got on with him. At that time he was just getting me down so much I wrote all those lyrics about him. I mean if you read it and imagine the third party being him. You know he "was divisive with a passion and ruthless to the core". And obviously dealing with the manager as well.
I sidetracked Dave back onto Panic In The Streets by giving him the lyrics to read.
No I really don't know exactly where he (Sandra Vermeulen actually gets the lyric credit rightly or wrongly) is coming from with this. And I must admit my involvement was what the drumming was all about and that's why I got a credit on that. I don't really know why he gave me the credit but he gave me the song to be treated like this. And I went "That's great" I love all of that. There is a lot of two bass drum work and lifting it up and down. But I said try and make it a little bit more like "Kill The King" (I assume the Rainbow song) But that is the only song on there that I don't know what all the lyrics are about.
JH - Rich City Kids?
DP - Yeah that was about you know the city kids in the days of the Yuppies.
JH - What do you recall about getting Tom Jackson in on vocals?
DP - I didn't want it. I like the guy now.
JH - Are you still in touch?
DP - No but when I have bumped into him I have got on well with him. When he joined the band it was originally for a trial period. We needed a singer but I wasn't really keen on him from the off. Tino got on well with him and said let's give him a chance. We had auditioned about 50 guys and got no where. And he wasn't really doing that bad so I went along with it. We've gone along with it and done about two weeks of gigging. Our own gigs our own tour. At the end of it we were going to have a meeting to decide weather he had the gig or he didn't. Chris and I were sharing a room. I don't know what was happening with the other guys. So it is Chris and I that have got a vote. Tino and Steve have got a vote. So I said well you know, he is being very friendly to Tino so Tino was bound to vote Yes. Steve will tend to do anything Tino's says. So those two are going to say keep him in the band. I said "I don't want him in the band, Chris. What about you?" He said "I don't want him in the band" as well. I said "So that makes the manager the final vote" right? So I said "We win" because the management won't want to rock the boat and Tom would have to go. I think we were in Bath at the time. So were left the hotel room and I said so you are voting with me "Yeap, no problem" So we got to the table and we are ready to vote. Tino said "I want to keep him", so I nodded to myself. Steve said "I want to keep him". Bob was sitting there and I said "Well I don't want to keep him" and Chris? Chris said "I think we should keep him"!!! I went what? What you traitor! I got up and said right I am leaving and I got up and left the room. And I went you f**king traitor I knew those two would vote for him but. He said "It's not like that! It's not like that!" So I went up to Bob Keane later and said that's it after this tour is finished I am leaving the band. And about a week after it was over. Bob phoned me up and said "Look we have fired Tom Jackson". So he was out. But could you believe Chris? I mean Chris didn't say in the room lets keep him and keep the peace. He said "No we are going to say that" and then literally five minutes later we sat down at the table and he said "No I want to keep him". If he was hear now he would be lying on the floor saying "Don't tell him that!"
JH - Well I won't be able to use that then!
DP - Oh you will. He will see the humour in it. (And since you are reading this you will know Dave was right. Chris didn't mind as it was so long ago).
JH - Tom had left before the sessions in Germany for the "2nd" album hadn't he?
DP - Tom was fired with in 2 months
JH - He had done some interviews for the press.
DP - What we did on that tour was interviews and Give Me A Reason and Heartache in the studio.
JH - Ah had you recorded Heartache? Because that was on Demorabilia.
DP - Isn't it on there?
JH - No he only has the one on there. Give Me A Reason I think (It's Heartache actually)
DP - After Heartache next to it. It's the same song.
JH - I don't think it was his vocal.
DP - No but it doesn't matter it was still the same song. I don't know who did the vocals on them. Or how we did them. I think, yeah, what it was we did it Germany. He had gone by Germany (This is the Chris Version on Disc 2 of Demorabilia) In Germany was just the four of us again with Jon Bavin on production. So Jon was involved from that period. And all we did was because Tom Jackson was involved with Heartache we called it Give Me A Reason. It's the same song. If you listen to Fantasy and Running For Tomorrow. They are the same song too. Just with different lyrics and a slightly altered melody. But yeah Tom did that recording and out he went.
JH - I think he sang something else that was mentioned in the press. Yes "No Mercy"
DP - Ah that was that boxing song wasn't it? Now what happened to that? Sh*t. That was a song written by someone else. Now who did that? I know who it was the guitarist from Bruce Springsteen. A Small guy. I can't recall his name. He wrote the song and I think it's about boxing. I think we recorded that.
JH - As a potential single or something.
DP - Yeah as a potential to do something with it. But I don't know what happened to that.
JH - How did Bernie come about then?
DP - I have known Bernie all the time I was in Mantis. I had meet him because he was in Grand Prix. And he was more or less my mate and I knew he could sing. He wasn't really keen to be honest when I half mentioned it but when he got fired from Grand Prix I don't think he had a choice. He did it more out of that and being in a band and bit of friendly persuasion from me you know? But I really wanted a singer in the band. I couldn't handle Chris and Tino's lead vocals. I have got to be honest although everybody reckoned that is where the X-factor laid. Although there are better singers than Bernie, compared to those two guys. And not only that they had their guitars to play. To hold down a Bass guitar and sing is a nightmare.
JH - Yeah I can understand them not wanting to sing and play.
DP - And we're giving it the full show bit. And there just. I mean they are ten times better now than they were then.
JH - I like the vocal delivery. The way they pronounce the words. Is it London? What is they are doing?
DP - Shite? No, no. I don't know.
JH - They deliver it in a really strange way.
DP - I mean it's more like just putting it out. Chris tries to make it something special. And I can tell what his intent is. He doesn't always get there. But I can tell what he is trying to do. Tino has got a knack of making it a bit tongue in cheek sort of amusing and good. You know what I mean he will play about with it and I can half relate to that. But I think to be taken serious on the world wide stage you have got to have a front man or really cut it in the voice yourself. Or maybe go the Bob Dylan route. But I couldn't see use fitting any of those things you know?
JH - So it was you that was sort responsible for the change of sound after Time Tells No Lies?
DP - Yeah I was responsible for trying to change it from day one. I mean I had the band. I was 30 years of age. Chris was 22 years of age. You know I'd been round the block twice. I knew the sort of band it was going to take if we were gonna go into this game to make it. And really when you think about it most of the bands have that format. Keyboard player, lead singer, lead guitarist. They were doing a bit of the Thin Lizzy thing with two guitarists and I thought "Yeah OK it's been done but you have so much more scope with a keyboard player" You can do all sorts of things on back harmony things with that and it's like why have two of any instrument you know? You know what I mean with all the technology Tino could double up anyway. So really my whole objective from the moment I felt I had the gig in the band was to change it over a slow period of time.
JH - To me the Bernie Shaw period was so different to the Time Tells No Lies period and I couldn't understand it at all.
DP - Yeah to me it was going in the right direction then but it was unfortunately to late. If we had done Times Tells No Lies with a keyboard player and Bernie singing it. I know your saying "No" because your locked into it the way it is. But I bet you any money it would have been a better album. I bet you. It's just like now when someone plays you a copy of a Stevie Wonder song you go "Aah, it's not as good". It's the same you would feel about an album like that. I reckon if it had been Jon Bavin and Bernie Shaw and done the Time Tells No Lies album I reckon it would have been better. And if we had been allowed to have our heads a bit I think the sounds on it. Well not necessarily all the sounds on it. Tim Friese-Green was good on some of those vocals sounds and some of those guitar sounds. So if we had just had a bit more of a rapport with him and those two guys in the band. I think we would have had a better album. Bernie would have sung Cheated and Running For Tomorrow better than Steve did without the same strain. There was nothing but strain from Steve you know?
JH - But again that is what I like.
DP - But when you hear that live all you hear is a bloke screaming his head off out of tune. And you have got to live with this. You see what I mean? Steve probably did that in 25 drop-in's and when he tried it live he just couldn't whereas Bernie could have done it like falling of a log. And that's what you want if someone has got to hear it every night.
JH - Yes that's right and if you are straining your voice you are not going to be able to last on a tour.
DP - Yeah that's right. They thought that sounds good all strained and great but when you get him on stage singing it you go "Corr f**king hell!" because you weren't stopping him and dropping them in. I am not saying that Bernie was the ideal choice but in the situation, his voice me knowing him so well. I used to go out drinking with him and partying with him. And he had a good image then. I went "Well this is a perfect choice we all know each other." He can do the job and no one in the band can really cut it singing wise. And that Reading Boot (Live And Singles), you have got to admit Jon, that even though he f**ks up in a couple of places it's a lot better vocals. You hear his vocals and they are pretty good most of the time. He is in pitch he is in tune. The one thing Bernie always lacked for me. And it came out better on the Stratus album. When they came back with the Stratus album I went "You know what Bernie that's got emotion". Before he used to just sing. I went "What you need is someone to rip your heart out so you have got some feelings". That's where I think Coverdale takes the biscuit. Because Coverdale sings like he has had his heart. And I know David. I mean I played with Whitesnake for a week. And I went round to David's. And he like a guy that lives in the fast lane and sings like he has had his heart ripped out. Whereas Bernie sings like he has never been in Love in his life except on that Stratus album where he really, you know, put it into Give Me One More Chance.
JH - And Raining In Kensington he was proud of.
DP - Yeah he was good with that but still he never cut that like he did that Give Me One More Chance. When I heard all of that album I went "F**king hell, Bernie I am so impressed".
JH - Have I asked about Jon Bavin?
DP - How did he come along? Oh Yes we used him as a sound guy. We were introduced to him through a guy called Kenny Smith who was our Stage Manager. Bob Haddock was the guy I wrote 30 Pieces Of Silver about. And Bob Haddcock and Kenny Smith were both professional guys about what they did. Kenny used to be the Stage Manager for ELP. And he came along for our Stage Manager and he brought along this guy a sort of Roadie tech. And when we found out he was a wizard with all sorts of things and got involved with him. He started of a like a Roadie but ended up being like the Engineer and then the keyboard player and the in the band. So he sort of crept in through the doors. You know you meet someone you think is a roadie and he was probably more talented than all of us.
Earlier when discussing the Live and Singles CD in the car Dave had been emphatic that the 6 member line up pictured on the cover off that Bootleg had never existed and must have been a photo montage.
JH - And you are sure that Steve Carroll wasn't around while you were breaking in Jon?
DP - Yeah. Yeah he was but the put is he was never around when Bernie was there. So there was never six of us. So you see Jon Bavin was in Germany with us. So we had Tino, Chris, Steve, myself and Jon Bavin behind the desk. And maybe doing some keyboards. I don't know what he was doing there right? So when we got back to London. You see I was sitting there going "What the F**k are we doing in Germany"? And they said "What are you moaning for?" And I said "Well what is he going to do with the sound? He's making a master album. What record company is going to take it?" Because I had already done management. He was not going to be able to pay the guys for the use of the studio. We are going to get back to England we are not going to have a record deal. If we do get a record deal it won't be with this because we produced it ourselves and you know what it is all about all politics. So we wasted 3 months. I actually enjoyed it but I was married and I just wanted to come home to my wife you know? So I was stuck there for 3 months. Although it goes down in the books now as a classic time. But at the time I was thinking this is a waste of time. And that is why when we got back we f**ked of Bob and f**ked Steve off as well. Because Steve came through the same door. Had I have been stronger and been prepared to face Tino. Because Tino made decisions. I am sure in retrospect Tino would have agreed were stupid. Steve came along knew the album and sat down and played. Tino never looked at the psyche and weather he fit with us and this and that. He got the gig so when Bob was going to go we got rid of both of them. So then Jon was in. Bernie came in. And I had been engineering Bernie coming in for a long time anyway. So it just all clicked but there were never 6 in the band. (We later established there was!)
JH - So why did Steve leave?
DP - I think we fired him. Because we were firing Bob Keyne, I think we decided to get rid of both of them. Bob and Steve were very good mates. I think when we decided to let Bob go because it wasn't working out with him. I think he had the right intentions for the band. And the right desire for the band. There was nothing wrong with any of that. But he was making too many enemies. So when he was going we let Steve go as well.
JH - So how much writing did you do? When you were Praying Mantis did you actually do much writing?
DP - Yeah. Well I mean what it was, was although I had done writing before it was a band that. And that is probably one of the main reasons I didn't take the Maiden gig. A lot of bands are very greedy and don't want to share there writing with you. And when I joined Mantis they had a lot of the stuff there written already. But I was just going along in the van writing songs and getting ideas together. And I would go "Oh I like that Riff" And Tino would go oh that sounds good. So I would do that. And then I would go to a party and I would write these lyrics, you know? Fantasy and then they would get changed. And then Born Evil. I had that idea for Born Evil. I had it based on a line "Born Evil under a bad sign. Born evil, evil by design". And I had it for ages and then one of them made a song of it. And they would come along like that. And although those numbers wouldn't get used until Clive's time it's because everyone else in the band was writing and I felt far superior to me. But I was getting in there as you can see.
JH - How were you writing? Were you writing on guitar?
DP - No. I mean rather than get to clever. I mean even though I would do thing on keyboard, I'd either get one of them tape things and sing the musical side of it which would be in riffs or I would have a melody and I would sing it like that. And in some cases I might play a guitar and play it say "See where my voice is going. I need you to find these changes." Because I could not have found the riffs I could sing. I hear it and I could do the drumming to it. But another guitarist would go play it and say "Show me" because he doesn't want to do it. But Tino wasn't like that. Tino would say "Go on, give us it". And he would work it out. And I would go "Yeah that's it!" So there wasn't a conflict. It was very democratic. Everyone was getting a slice of the cake and everyone was very happy. And that's what was fantastic about that band. And the reason you get problems with bands such as Maiden is because there is more politics going on with that band than anything else. If Mantis had have kicked off and been successful it would probably have kept on for ages. It was just we hit so many walls. Do you understand what I mean? That's why it broke. And when they reformed I was probably on another planet anyway. I had managed them. So I had probably f**ked their brains up with that. And I was definitely on another trip you know. I think if everything had gone smoothly we would still have been together to this day. And all happy together. Yeah there would be bitchiness but we would all be rich we would all be happy. Whereas you have Maiden you have all that politics. I am sure most of the band have money but you can guarantee Steve Harris has the lion's share. You can't run a band like that. Rod Smallwood has obviously come up with a way for them all to make money. Steve is probably doing it for fun. The rest are all doing it because they need some cash. It's as simple as that. I know it is bad but that is where it is all about. Where as with Mantis it was all very democratic everybody in there was going to make the same kind of money. No one was going to be driving a Rolls Royce while someone else had to make do with a mountain bike.
JH - So was Sandra Vermeulen the one doing the Mantis fan club as well?
DP - No that was a completely different person. She was a person that Tino lived with. She did the Panic In The Street thing. I don't know how she came up with it or why she even got the credit but that is another story. That was just his girlfriend who went back to live in Canada. But Sandra from the office was Bob Keyne's sectary. So she took the day to day things for Praying Mantis.
JH - Why did you decide to leave and become a manager?
DP - To be honest I was 33 I had done management through the punk period. But It was all punk I wasn't interested in it. Half of it was my bottle went going on stage to an audience. The other part was and maybe I wouldn't have felt this if I was playing with guys my age but I was starting to feel to old. Clive Burr ended up coming to me and maybe I was going through a sort of male menopause stage. In if no one had come to me maybe I would have come out of it and carried on playing. But what happened was Clive in the middle of thinking like this. I walked on at Reading and saw 33,000 people and I have done much bigger gigs than that. And I went "F**king hell, it's a big crowd" and I got all panicky. And constant jives from Bernie talking the piss out of me at times. And really I could have answered him back at the time as he had the same faults. So all of that was making me edgy. And then Clive came along when he got fired and asked would you manage the band and that. And basically "Let me join the band". And I thought maybe this was meant to happen. And it didn't feel unnatural so I thought OK.
JH - So it wasn't in response to the money going missing with Fireball Management then?
DP - No, no, no. It had nothing to do with that. I am not sure that any money did go missing with Fireball to be honest with you. They may have wasted it or done bad things but all managers can do that. I wouldn't hold them responsible unless it was a blatant rip off and the band made money. We had advances and to my knowledge they used those advances on us. You I never saw any of them driving a tasty motor or living in a tasteful house. We weren't even successful. It was all advances from record companies. And I am sure we well dipped into it ourselves.
JH - Why did you decide to get rid of Fireball then?
DP - We had basically decided to get rid of Bob when we got back from Germany because he had upset the Apple cart with Arista. So we get fired from Arista. He was negotiated this deal with this Jonas character in Germany. He has taken the band over there to make a master album. Which just doesn't work in this business. You can do a license product now. But in those days you signed a major deal and they helped you pick the producer. You wanted the best but he was too expensive and did that. He was trying to make a master album and sell it. You know, come back and sell it. So I knew that was a complete waste of time. I do know the business and I think I was probably a bit more experienced at management than Bob.
JH - So why did you get sacked from Arista?
DP - Well because Bob wouldn't play ball with them. So they dropped us. The manager deals with the record company not the band.
JH - I mean the sales had been fairly good for Time Tells No Lies hadn't they?
DP - Yeah, they had done a good job. You have to remember that Charles Levington that had signed the band left the label. I think he went to WEA. I don't know exactly who he went to . It was some America. He was American anyway. He left and his right guy was someone called Tarquin something. He actually did the editing of Cheated. I have never seen an A&R guy perform like this guy. He definitely knew his way around music you know? And he was maybe like head of A&R. But Charles Levington who signed the band to Arista left. Bob Keyne didn't play ball they right way, I don't think. He didn't negotiate the right deals or get the right finance and he maybe acted more emotional than logical. But I could see. I can't remember exactly to this day but I remember a lot like that. He went and Steve went and we still to carried on. We tried to get deals. We still had Chappell behind us. Chappell were offering us little bits of cash but not enough.
JH - For publishing?
DP - Yeah. I mean I went to them for 5,000 quid and he offered £2,500. I walked out of there office and refused it which was a little bit silly. Nevertheless I wasn't managing the band then. Then we got a deal ourselves with Jet records. We went in and played it to David Arden. I used to be managed by Don Arden when I was in Skip Bifferty. My ex-wife knew David very well and I knew him a bit so we went and signed the deal with Jet. Then we go to a guy called Richard Crowley of Cowbell. And Richard Crowley knows as much about management as I know about milking cows. He hadn't a clue and he was talking to the record company like they the management company. Now although the record company are on your side you have to get them to do things for you. He didn't have a clue. I said to the boys this guy is a prick we have got to get someone else. So we walked into John Coletto's office and said "John, you don't have to pay us the wages we asked you for. We have got Jet records paying our wages. Will you manage us?" Because John Colletto had managed Deep Purple and Whitesnake. We went to him initially but he didn't want to involve any cash. So he refused us. We got our own deal and got that going. Then John Colletto goes in and completely upsets the apple cart with Jet! That is when we went to Richard Crowley. Richard Crowley was f**king about. It was all going completely pear shaped. Nothing was happening. We were trying to get a manager that would take care of us and relate to the record company. But relate to them not climb into bed with them. You know what I mean. To be fair with both sides. But for some reason we got Colletto who would rather have a war with them. Richard Crowley who wanted to work for them. It was all bollocks so eventually it all seemed to come to a grinding halt and the situation with Clive came along and I went "F**k it" I might as well do it myself. Clive has offered me to do this so it got started like that. And that was the end of Mantis but not for me because I got Wishbone Ash, Alice In Wonderland who I got Tino in.
JH - Sorry?
DP - I took on other bands then because I took on Ozzy Hoppy, who had Whitesnake, as a partner. I took Mickey Berresheim in as a partner. He had a commodity company and made about £10,000,000. He had his own studio in Germany. His own video thing which came into my company because I had shares in his company and he in mine. We formed an off shore company in the Isle of Mann. We thought we should call the company Mushroom management so we could shit on the band twice a week and kept them in the dark. No! No so we were involved with them. So then we got Alan Gordon with top line travel. So we took John Colletto's office over. And had the management company there. So record companies were approaching us.
JH - So what did you say about Tino though?
DP - Clive was messing about not deciding things. I had deals on the table for the man. Everything was there. A major deal went out of the window. We had a deal with CBS offered by Dave Novack Dave Novack went to A&R director in New York. So he passed us on to his successor and he wasn't interested in signing the band. Then we went to a guy, I think, Alan Black, a friend of Clive's at EMI records. He was also interested but then moved departments. But then we had a lot of licensing deals on the table coming in for the band. It would have pulled in an amount of money that is ten times better than they are all doing now. But it wasn't good enough for Clive Burr. So I was getting headaches left right and centre. So although I was married to them I ended up wanting a divorce you know? It was too much it was all Clive nothing to do with the others. So I started managing Wishbone Ash. I put a lot of work into that and they ripped me off serious. And well Tino came along and I had a band called Alice in Wonderland. And a girl singer. But unfortunately the bass player was her husband. And a girl drummer who was a f**king better drummer than me. She could do anything. I would say "Play this" and she would play it. Things I couldn't play. And Tino was in that band but again I had a deal with EMI music. To manage a band is the biggest f**king nightmare on this planet. You have four guys and most of the time they don' agree with each other and they aren't going to agree with you. So you have all of that going on and eventually you crack up. I had Wishbone Ash owing me £35-40,000 and I had put all that work in. And unless I sued Wishbone Ash limited because that was who it was with. And completely closed them down. And then I would have been a C**t if I did. I had to walk away from that. And with all of them arguing after about 6 years I just knew I had to get out of this business it was so full of idiots you know? Yeah but Tino had a nice little run with that band Alice In Wonderland. Again too much politics. If you had four packets of Kellogg's Corn Flakes that didn't talk. Didn't answer you back. Didn't run up phone bills didn't have engines blow up on there car's. Didn't have all of that, it would be great but you don't. You get "I need £500 my car's blown up". "I need this". "What are you doing work wise"? Just rowing and arguing. And F**k me, Clive! Clive came round to my house once he wanted Andy Johns to do it. Do you remember Andy Johns? He had done stuff with Glenn Hughes and that French band called Trust. You know Clive played with them? And because Andy John's accepted him he wanted to use him on Stratus stuff. But Andy Johns wanted £20,000 cash and all his expenses paid while he was flown to Europe doing it and 4% of the album for a band that was only doing reasonable licensing deals. It was like you trying to buy the latest Ferrari or something. And I was sitting there with Clive trying to go through the budget with him. It was that with them and it seemed to be that with all of them. And I mean I swore I would never get involved in management again. But still there might be a few mugs out there maybe I should rip off.
JH - How did you actually like the songs in the Escape era?
DP - I wrote most of them so I
JH - Should like them a lot!
DP - Well not really it was more that nobody else was going to do it. I had to go to the guys in Mantis and say this is what we have got, knowing full well that that would get it going. I mean The Horn I didn't have anything to do with but OK. Fantasy mine really. Music and lyrics. All Over Again more Chris and Tino in that right? One Of These Days Clive and I. Enough Is Enough Tino. Your Number Tino and I. Raining In Kensington was something to do with Jon Bavin. Woman Of The Night was. My friend used to run a massage parlour. In fact he was at the warm up gig the other day with my ex-wife. He used to run four massage parlours. I wrote the song all about Woman Of The Night. You know Prostitutes. Romancer was Tino. Tell Me The Nightmares wrong was a song that wasn't written by any of use but I heard it at Chappell and thought it would be good for the band. Born Evil again you know that was me. Wasted Love that was Clive and I or whatever. Top Of The Mountain. Turn The Tables Chris. Do you know what that is about? "If Life is a game of finding more. Belief may be your final score. The world is yours so stake your claim. You've waited long now reap the gain. Turn the tables it's my turn". It's about, you know, they you are going out there in life and not getting an luck. Chris writes some very good lyrics actually. Take No Prisoners was you know I don't take any prisoners. It was that.
JH - These songs actually seem stronger than the ones on the Stratus album.
DP - Yeah they threw most of this out which I expected they would do. But I let them because the idea was "Look fella's I am going to be the manager, Clive is going to be the drummer. These are the songs we have got. I know you guys can write" I never looked at Clive and I as the strongest writers there. And I was going into management anyway but I needed him to have some vehicle you know? So basically Clive and I sat around at my place putting all those songs together. A lot of the ideas I already had. And erm I was honest enough to admit we needed them to do the music and all the finer points. I think Clive thought he was Tchaikovsky or something. Now we went to them with that. Now I was hoping that that really it would come out as Praying Mantis with Clive Burr on drums really. Only I said it is going to be Clive Burr's Escape because Clive Burr had just been fired from Iron Maiden. That Clive Burr bit was going in 6 months to a year and it was definitely going. There was no question of it staying because I had ideas for Escape. Unfortunately we didn't have to go that far Phonogram wrote us some letters. I got my lawyer to challenge them but he said "Listen they will bury us financially" so we dropped the name. And then they came up with Stratus. I had nothing to do with that name. They came up with that name. I think the Stratus album is probably better. I don't know because it is different tastes isn't it?
JH - Yeah I prefer this set to the Stratus stuff.
DP - I mean I do like the Stratus stuff but I do like what's there as well. I don't think that is done right. I heard David Coverdale doing what I write although Dio is probably one of my favourite singers. If I was singing I would sing more like Coverdale. I like the way he goes. I can imagine him singing Born Evil. He would be f**king outrageous. He uses certain lines that I do and I just like what he does. I think it was just like we'll go there with songs. We had 15 or 19 songs. We'll go to the guys with that. They will all get shaken about and we'll end up with something and he will end up with a job in the band. But Clive I think wanted to be the controller of it all. And I wouldn't let him. There is no way. It was like an equal and democratic thing. And after all he was only a drummer and an average one at that.
JH - Bernie thought you were showing him a lot on the drums.
DP - I was showing him almost everything all of the time. I mean we were in the studio and I told him to play 4-4 without a drum beat for 3 minutes. He goes, and I know I am a bit busy on A Question Of Time, but if you listen to Your Number I don't do one drum fill. Clive always had to put in the Kitchen sink.
I search for the track list for the Stratus Throwing Shapes album.
Ah Back Street Lovers a great song. Bernie wrote that. That's the best thing he has ever written.
JH - He doesn't do a lot of writing does he?
DP - And you know what I wanted there? I wanted a video done of that. I had a great idea for it. I wanted to do it in the south of France. I mean although we were taking pictures around London Bridge and that. But that was a really good song.
Gimme Something - That was good.
Even If It Takes - I like that as well.
Give Me One More Chance - Bernie really sang that well.
Never Say No - Yeah
Run For Your Life, Romancer, Enough Is Enough and So Tired. Yeah I thought all of those were great actually.
JH - You like Romancer as well?
DP - Yeah (slightly unsure sounding) a tongue in cheek Romancer.
JH - Do you know who wrote that?
DP - Tino. He wrote Enough Is Enough as well. That was all about Sandra. "I gave you a chance. You blew it away. You knew all the rules but not how to play." But I like that.
So Tired - We did So Tired at that reunion gig at the Marquee. I hadn't played for five years. And Clive was in the audience. Yeah I remember that. Yeah I did like those. UK Vinyl - Steel Trax - F**king those bastards robbed us. The F**ing tricks they played on me. I don't know if Mickey Brishime was saying something to them. I would bike round by courier all the info to their office and they would say "You never sent it". I would say "What? It was sent round with DHL and signed for" No grumble grumble grumble..... Steel Trax's just crooks. They were public as well. But still Crooks.
JH - Do you remember Don Garbutt?
DP - You know what happened to him don't you? Ha, ha, ha. He's the keyboard player guy right? You know how we meet him was an accident. And this guy was a brilliant keyboard player. But he said "I want to go back to Canada for a holiday". I went "Have you got a Visa here?" He said "No, but I will be alright" He went to Canada and they wouldn't left him back in the Country! And there was nothing I could do to get him back in. You know a management company can only do so much.
JH - So he was foreign?
DP - Yeah he was Canadian. Only for some reason he had a problem with his visa and he couldn't get back in. And I was spending more time f**king about with s**t like this than getting on with business. It's like now with the people I know, people like Steel Trax couldn't f**k with me now. I didn't have the right contacts then.
(I explained that I had seen two Escape recordings one on Dec 17 1983 and one 19th Jan 1984. Don was on the first but gone by the second)
Right, that's right Don went home for Christmas and in January he couldn't get back. But I made him well aware because he had already brought the subject up. And I said well if you are not sure don't go. But he went and then we had to go to all the embassies and all that stuff. And I had partners and everything trying to pull strokes there. And we couldn't get him a visa back in. He had done something wrong. What it was, is I think he had overstayed his initial visa. So if he had gone back in time and then returned he would have got it. But he overstayed it. So we came up with all sorts of bullsh*t stories but it wasn't washing. I don't think he would have that problem now but in those days you did. So he just f**ked up and all I got was a phone call of "Help". And he was a f**king great player! None of this stuff he had played on he'd heard. We would just play it and say do something to that. And he would just go crazy (Dave sings example sounds)
JH - I like the break in Romancer.
DP - That's when he did it. We just played him it and that was the first take. (More examples and exclamations from Dave) I wanted him in the band. I love keyboard players. I mean I have played in more 3 pieces with keyboard players and bass players than guitarists. And I knew he was f**king clever. I could do a little of the piano myself.
(I said the use of keyboards in Mantis in the 90's annoys me a little as I am a Rick Wakeman fan and they are a little to chord like)
Well this guy Don that you are talking about, Rick Wakeman would have a hard time keeping up with. He was that good. And although he was on that particular instrument he happened to be doing a session for some guy called Martin in Berrick Street. And Martin heard our stuff and we asked could Don "do anything on that". Don said "Lets have a listen". We said we just want a solo on the end of this and he let rip. And we went "F**king hell! Do something here" And he would do all kinds of things. He would do 2 maybe 3 takes but it was like, not just an OK solo it was a great one. Any keyboard player you know is going to go "F**k me". And this all helps with a band because if you have Rick Wakeman going "Who the f**k is that keyboard player with Stratus" it works. "Who is that guitarist there?" That is what you need. Eric Clapton is really big not because people know he is great but because great musicians know he is great and they tell people. And after a while of him getting airplays. And if you were the head of an A&R company and I said you have got to go and see this guy play. You are going to listen to me especially when the next band you meet says the same thing. So really talented people shine through that way you know? And this guy Don was really brilliant. I told him not to go. I asked him to stay until we got it sorted out but he said "Ah no I have got it sorted" He knew his own way and we couldn't get him back in so he was lost you know? And my attitude was philosophical.
JH - Did you only do one off gigs at the Marquee or did they do tours?
DP - As Escape we did gigs at the Marquee a few gigs around. Which cost me an arm and a leg. We did 6 gig on the trot around the country. But I couldn't put packages together because they had 6 in the crew and all of these things and no one would pay them more than £300. And it was costing about £1,000 to do a gig. So it was all this money. All of the posters. I was doing £3-4000 poster displays. It was just costing a fortune and then when I get the thing saying "You can't call them Escape". All those poster displays and that advertisement we had done was straight out of the window.
JH - Yeah because you were getting a lot of mentions in the press.
DP - That's right yes and all over London. I had a guy Terry The Bill putting all those posters up. You know he has got a proper company for it. There was posters everywhere. All down Fulham Road. All up Wardour Street. Remember in those days of the Marquee was there. And it was three or four months in when I got the letter from Phonogram. And I went "How come I know everyone in this industry and no one I know knows of this band you have locked up in a draw somewhere. You must have seen all this advertising. You know it has cost thousands. And now you have just come on the scene and told us to change our name". I think that was the reason they were gentle. Had I been a little bit clever I would have said pay me off. They might have said "Boll**ks! We'll sue you first" but it wouldn't have looked good in a court of law because where were they? I mean we had been sticking posters all over Phonogram records you know what I mean? Saying Clive Burr's Escape and it was months later they said change the name. I mean I can't remember all the plans but we had a load of marketing ideas for the name Escape. That went out the window you know?
JH - So when you couldn't get Don Garbutt back you got Alan Nelson?
DP - Yeah. I don't know where he came from. They got him in. A quite little lamb. He came in but no keyboard player was every going to be a fully fledged member of the band. Because we had a share. No matter what the keyboard player was doing. I know it was bad, but he would be looked after. But he wouldn't be a fully fledged member. You know unless someone came along that was going to set the place on fire. Weather Don would have done that or weather he was more sessiony I don't know.
JH - We have coverd did you manage any other bands I think.
DP - Well I don't weather it is of any interest but I used to manage Paul Linder. He was Lemmy of Motorheads son. I was the first guy to manage him. He was only 12 or 13. But it was like very difficult I got massive media coverage. But The record companies were sort of scared to sign young kids. I had Bernie Marsden. I mean the kid did play guitar but he didn't play lead guitar. He sang on it and he wrote it and, I used Bernie Marsden on Lead Guitar and a pretty good drummer. And I make a single a sort of four track thing but I couldn't get it away. And I had spent so much money on it I just had to walk away from it. His mother was a headache. But anyway that's another story. You to can be a manager to if you want headaches.
JH - Can you remember anything about these songs?
DP - A Question Of Time. That was just the idea coming from Exodus as you know.
JH - What a film?
DP - No a classical piece of music called Exodus. So that was that idea. What happens is after 50 years music enters the Public Domain. So anyone can claim writing on it. So we called it A Question Of Time. I was wanting to do it so I said to Tino "Can you play this?" And he came up with the triplet bits. And because time was becoming the theme through the band. Time Tells No Lies. I said "Tino, I think you are tempting fate mate!"
I Need Your Loving - That was just some bulls**t song with Tom Jackson and everybody.
Time Slipping Away. I thought Chris had written about me.
JH - Why is that?
DP - Because it just had that feel to it. "I know it. You know it. Time slipping away" I was getting Paranoid you know? But he said "Well it wasn't about you" and I replied "Well I kept thinking it was".
JH - What about Battle Royal?
DP - Battle Royal was initially well literally about a battle. Guns and all that. "Bodies floating no longer hear a sound. Only spoils of war echo all around."
(We then went into a blind leading the blind discussion on when and where it was recorded)
JH - ... It says in Demorabilia it was 1981
DP - No Bernie wasn't with us in 1981.
JH - It must have been the start of it. It was September 1981 that you were still talking about releasing a 2nd album. Next month.
DP - Yeah we were talking about it but
JH - No it was literally going to be the next month according to the Mantis fan club letters. And you had recorded a Battle Royal out there.
DP - Well you can't tell the people the truth can you? So you lie a lot. Ha ha ha. Yeah Bernie would have been involved and we were probably hoping to pull a record deal off.
JH - Ah that will be your Jet time won't it (This seems unlikely from the above)
DP - Yeah because we did do a lot at Jet. What was the name of that studio? Regent St. That's where we did a lot of that stuff. Enough is Enough was done there. Raining In Kensington was done there. Nightmares was done somewhere else. Got To Get It. I don't remember that track. Over And Over I know that one. Never Say No I know that.
JH - Do you remember Whose Life Is It Anyway? and Heat Of The Moment. They are strange drum machine tracks.
DP - Yeah these are ones from when we were round at Jon Bavin's place. We were writing them there. This was where Over and Over was done to. That used a drum machine. I think it was at Jon Bavin's flat in Battersy that we did them.
JH - They are very keyboard driven. I assume because they are demo's.
DP - Yeah and because of the lyrics and the commercialness of it. You know what Bernie is like I can't imagine him doing it the way he is.
JH - Do you ever regret turning down Maiden?
DP - Erm well yeah. If I look at the good side of Maiden and it had all worked out, then I would regret it. But as somebody pointed out it might have only lasted six months. I could have ended up not with them and not with Mantis, never gone into management so we don't know how it would have turned out. If you said would you regret it if you had known you could still be with them now. And I would have been on a split and not the sort of deal Nicko was on but the right sort of deal. Then yeah. Because you would be talking to a multi-millionaire now. But I could foresee not getting on with Steve Harris from what I have heard. You know I am not one of those guys that sits back and nods my head. I think I would eventually go "F**k off Steve, and stick your band up your arse". So because I know I could be like that. And I knew there was no need to be like that with Tino and Chris. But I always had the impression I mean it was Rod and Steve's band. I mean when I walked into the sound check at the Rainbow Iron Maiden are going to go on tour and Praying Mantis are going to go on tour with Iron Maiden. They were already ready to do their sound check. So they get up there. They do the PA and everything and I think "Mmm the kit sounds good." And he started to play. And after a while I thought "I think he is going to lose it when I play" because I knew what he was doing was going no where. So I knew then that I was on that part of it. So when I got up there and heard my monitors and that and I started to play and see him. He was impressed and the others were impressed because of two base drums and that. But what happened was none of the other guys in the band say like Steve showed any interest. But Rod he jumped out of their transport and he was always travelling with us. He was always playing cards with me and chatting with me, having a pint with me and saying "Shall we have a game of Darts?" So if anything it was probably Rod that wanted me in the band and he wasn't a band member. So I don't know how it was. If I knew more. You just can't tell.
JH - Yeah given what you knew at the time would you still make the same choice again.
DP - Yeah. If we had made it with Mantis it would have been fantastic. I would rather have made it with them and sacrificed a bit of cash than made it with Maiden.
JH - So what have you done since. You obviously managed for a while then what?
DP - Straight after management I got involved in commodities and property deals. So since then I have been robbing banks!
JH - So since then it is just deals. You don't have a fixed job or anything. It's money speculation.
DP - Yeah that's about it. Just whatever comes along.
JH - So had you given up playing drums?
DP - Yeah I stopped. I did the reunion gig with the guys in 87. Pearl supplied me with a kit of drums and Paiste supplied a kit of cymbals. And then this time round when they asked me to do this I hadn't played in 16 or 17 years. And when they said about the possibility of going to Japan I said to Tino "What's the catch". And he wanted me to play with him and Chris in a local Pub band he had made called Glamstars. So I went and bought a kit and started to feel my way round a kit on that. But I couldn't really hack that you know? It wasn't what I wanted to do but I wanted to do this Japanese thing.
JH - So how long in advance did you know about the reunion?
DP - About a year.
JH - What was going to happen then? He hadn't meet up with Steve again then had he?
DP - Yeah. What he said to me when he told me about it. I said what about Steve nobody knows where he is. Because his excuse for the reason I didn't join Mantis when they reformed in 1990 was they couldn't find me. Well any f**ker in London could find me. I am more know than Trafalgar Square. So I said "If you say you couldn't find me how are you going to find Steve Carroll?" And he said "As it happens he nearly ran me down with a tractor".
(They had turned the music on loud in the pub so we moved outside and by the time we had got there we had lost where we were.)
JH - I think we had jumped a head so lets go back to the first reunion gig in 1987.
DP - OK. The first one they said to me how do you fancy doing a reunion gig. You know with all of the songs. I went "I would love" to. That's when I had the charm. I phoned up Pearl and they supplied me with the best kit you could imagine. I phoned up Paiste and they rallied round and gave me loads and loads of cymbals. We rehearsed for three days and did that. Actually there was a home made video of that. The Sound was poor but it captures the atmosphere well. And actually even though the sound is bad I can tell I played well. Especially considering it was a five year lay off their. This last time was a bit long you know. Yeah that was a good gig. I noticed Bernie was getting pissed that night but he was still performing well. He was certainly knocking back the whiskies!
JH - What stuff did you play? Was it just Times Tells No Lies?
DP - No we did all of the Mantis stuff. So Tired. We did the instrumental. Enough is Enough. Panic In The Streets Flirting With Suicide. Just a mixture of the two except I wanted to do So Tired because I really liked that. Clive came to the gig actually. With his girlfriend. He was in the audience actually.
JH - That was even reviewed in the press
DP - Was it? Yes my partner Mickey Barryshime came down to see it. So that was good but we never did anything from there.
JH - Well Bernie got the Uriah Heep job from there.
DP - No he was already in Uriah Heep. That's why we needed to get him off for 3-4 days to rehearse.
JH - Ah that's what I had heard but he said that is where they saw them.
DP - No he already had the gig with them by then. He forgets. We had to get him to do it. He was up for doing it but we were under a bit of a schedule rehearsal wise. No because I couldn't boll**k him when he was getting a bit pissed. You know "Oh your not going get drunk and f**k it all up are you? Just because you have the gig with Heep". But as it happened he did perform quite well. It was a pretty good gig considering the lay off. And probably better than a lot of gigs we were doing anyway.
JH - I think it was Malcolm Dome who reviewed it and he said "it was good nostalgia but don't go getting ideas of doing it a permanent reunion."
DP - Ha ha ha. We probably couldn't. The market place wasn't calling out for it anyway. It was just for fun. It would have been nice if we had been wealthy enough and successful enough if we could round doing gigs like that for fun as well now.
JH - So you were still a manager then?
DP - Yeah and getting very disillusioned with headaches left right and centre and that was like a bit of light relief. Doing a mixture of both was good.
At this point the interview pretty much ended. We started discussing the Japan trip and how things looked for the future. A lot of this was speculation so not worth reporting here. Dave had really enjoyed the Japan experience and would love to be involved with Mantis in the future.
I showed Dave photos from the Web page and we discovered proof that Mantis had been a 6 piece. Dave was also interested to see he had moved a China cymbal around in his drum set up. He commented how bad his memory was. I had been rather stunned at how good it was especially at recalling lyrics.