I.M. looks at two bands from the Essex area.
Each month, I.M. goes out to talk to bands after the buzz is on them, but before they take off. This month took Carroll Moore to Essex, to see The Mick Jupp Band and Burglar Bill.
Southend has long been a hotbed of rock activity, producing such giants as Robin Trower and Gary Brooker, and the Mick Jupp band follow firmly in that vigorous tradition. Mick Jupp used to play with Trower in a band called Jam and together with the other two senior members of the band, drummer Bob Clouter and bassist Phil Mitchell, played in another locally acclaimed band, Legend, in the late sixties.
That band broke up in 1972, and Mick went to work as the manager of Southend's Chris Stevens Music, a position he still holds. "I still played in a band, just to keep my hand in," he told I.M., "but it was mostly waltzes and fox trots". The initial impetus to form another rock band came this spring, with the success of another Southend success story, the Kursaal Flyers. The Kursaals had been doing a couple of Mick's songs, and released one, "Cross Country", on their first album.
"There was a bit of a buzz on, and the NME did a piece on me. People were saying 'Why not get a band together,' so we did." Bob Clouter, who first played with Mick 12 years ago in a band called the Orioles, and Phil Mitchell were the obvious candidates for two saxophonists, John Pugh and Frank Mead, were added, and Pete Zear joined as a guitarist. In addition, the band boasts three backing singers: Bob Fish, Colin Maxwell and Pete "the hat".
Such a large line-up obviously offers both advantages and disadvantages. Despite the obvious problems of making the money go nine ways, and fitting nine on to stages often designed for four (if not less), Mick Jupp reckons that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
An added bonus is the sheer confidence nine people can give each other. "With nine people," Bob Clouter told I.M., "you can bring even a dead-pan audience to life.
"Cool" audiences are a problem in Southend, according to Mick and Bob, but that generally doesn't affect the Mick Jupp Band. "Our people come to hear us and have a good time. The only time we had any trouble was in June, when we first started playing. We played a local place, the Queens, and there were about 400 people there. Most of them were our people, but the others swayed them — they were just too cool to enjoy themselves".
Quite surprisingly, the band are in no hurry for a recording contract. "We're not bothered," said Mick. "We could probably get a deal tomorrow, but there's no real hurry. We'd rather wait and get ourselves together a bit better.
Mick Jupp plays a Kay guitar with three pick-ups; Pete Zear plays a Fender Stratocaster; Phil Mitchell plays a Fender Precision bass; John Pugh and Frank Mead play Selmer Mark VI saxophones; Bob Clouter plays a Ludwig kit with Zildjian cymbals and a Paiste hi-hat; the group use HH, Hi-Watt and Roost amplification.
News by Carroll Moore
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