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Roland Newslink - Autumn 1986

Where Are They Now?

Roland Demonstrators make Good! | Guy Fletcher

History catches up with Roland musicians

L-R: Jay Stapley, Alan Townsend and Dave Green grooving at Dingwalls.
INSET: Guy Fletcher hiding underneath his hair and Roland keyboard

I happened to see Jay Stapley on TV AM this morning — he was playing guitar and singing 'The Mighty Quinn' with ex Manfred Mann singer, Mike d'Arbo.

How could anyone, let alone Jay Stapley, function musically at 7.45 in the morning!?

Jay, together with Dave Green, myself and an extremely young Guy Fletcher, were the musicians on the 1981 Roland Roadshow; a demonstration tour taking in 18 cities in 21 days.

After the tour Dave and myself stepped back from the limelight and reverted to our normal roles as Roland staff, Guy and Jay progressed to bigger and better things.

Guy Fletcher, previously keyboard player with Steve Harley's Cockney Rebel, did sessions for a time — playing on Mick Jagger's 'She's the Boss' album amongst many others. He then joined Roxy Music which was an ideal jumping off point; this he did, into Dire Straits, with whom he has been playing now for the last two years.

Guy has stayed in contact with Roland through his equipment. He's still using his Jupiter 8 "All the time".

It has only let him down once; when Dire Straits were playing an open air concert in Cairns, Queensland in a cloudburst and the canvas roof tore, drenching the keyboard rig, (and Guy), with gallons of water.

"The only problem with the Jupiter-8 is that it isn't MIDI" Guy says. "I used an MKS-80 Super Jupiter in a session last week, though, and it was fantastic, I didn't realise it was that good. I must get one."

Dire Straits are taking a break after their year-long world tour, so Guy is taking the opportunity to do some other things. At the moment he is producing an album for release in Japan. Then he is due to start a film project with Mark Knopfler, after which he will go on to do the next Tina Turner album, also produced by Mark.

All slightly different from Dingwalls!

Jay also found his Roland gear a great help. His GR-300 guitar synthesizer enabled him to make sounds that no other guitar player could and he found himself in great demand as a session and jingles player. He did many singles including one for 'The Hudsons' and an album for 'Spelt Like This,' both for Blue Weaver and Russ McKenzie.

Unfortunately, his GR-300 was stolen, although this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It prompted him to get the newer GR-700 which he did with the help of the insurance money. Jay uses a US-2 connector to combine the GR-700 with the yellow GR-100 electronic guitar unit. This doesn't have oscillators so it isn't really a synthesizer but it has a separate preamp for each string. Overloading these creates distortion that has "real bite" but, because each string is processed separately, complex chords can be played without breaking up the sound.

A high spot in Jay's career came when he was asked to play the second Roger Waters USA tour. (Eric Clapton did the first one). "The '700 was really useful. I was able to play organ parts and little synth bits and it saved hiring another keyboard player". Roger Waters keeps using Jay for live work which is a combination of Pink Floyd numbers and Roger's own later material, He also uses Jay on special recording projects, the latest one being the score for a film by Raymond Briggs who did 'Snowman.'

Jay has several new projects of his own to keep him busy. He is writing and producing film music and can't wait to use the new DEP-5 Digital Effects Processor. It should also be useful in 'The Flood', a recording band which he has started with distinctive vocalist Julian Dawson and Jaki Liebezeit and Rene Pinner, both ex Can.

And amplification? The JC-120 of course. "It's such a good keyboard amp as well as a guitar amp and that makes it great for guitar synthesizer".

I don't suggest for a minute that using Roland automatically gets you to have breakfast with Anne Diamond! because Jay and Guy have in immense amount of talent which is why they were hired as demonstrators in the first place. They both agree, however, that using Roland has made their life a little easier.

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International Musician & Recording World - Copyright: Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.


International Musician - Sep 1986

Roland Newslink - Autumn 1986

Feature by Alan Townsend

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