Just a gang of lads having a ball! - Tropicana Motel, LA, 1974
On The Road Did you know that Strife were the last proper band to play at the old Cavern Club, Liverpool, before it moved to the other side of Matthew Street? Several Liverpool bands played that night, and Strife topped the bill - after the set, there was a jam session with heaven knows how many musicians playing - including Phil Lynott! As I was taking the gear back up to the van, I noticed a young lady struggling to make it up the stairs. Being a true gent, I stopped to help her. Eventually I got her to the top, where the fresh air hit her, and she threw up all over me! I was not very popular in the van going home!

We had some very strange support bands - (Will anyone own up to being in Dandy Rat and the Footpads?!!) - but perhaps the most suprising was Supertramp. Yes it's true! Supertramp disbanded after their first album, but re-formed when they attracted a very large financial backer. Both bands were booked to play a college in Oxford (5/04/74) Each band was paid 100. The social secretary had seen Strife support Thin Lizzy at Oxford Polytechnic in February, but had not seen Supertramp, so he put Strife top of the bill! We were all still travelling in an old parcel van - with battered equipment. We hadn't got a record deal at this stage. Supertramp were (somewhat embarrassingly) travelling in a limo, with the equipment and full lighting rig (all brand spanking new!) being transported in a brand new artic! An odd gig, if ever there was one!

In the early days, we all travelled in one of those vans where the engine is between the driver and the front passengers. When travelling back from Liverpool, using the Mersey Tunnel, it was easy to lift the engine cover and pour some oil into the air intake. This produced a huge black cloud, which effectively blocked the tunnel for quite some time! Great fun!

-and now the truth comes out! I never actually passed my driving test while I was with Strife. Rob could drive all day - but not through the night! He soon solved this problem by driving to the nearest motorway, edging forward on the drivers seat while I stood on the seat behind him - easing himself across to the passengers seat, while I sat in the drivers seat - and finally letting me take the controls! - and all at 60mph! He would then go to sleep until we approached our turning off the motorway, when we would reverse the process! You know, I drove for thousands of miles without ever changing gear. Imagine the panic when I had to change gear for the first time!

The Baker Gurvitz Army tour was full of surprises - the first gig was at Edinburgh University, where there was a stabbing at the entrance door - followed by Strathclyde University, Glasgow, where we finished the gig to find that our van had been stolen! Welcome to Scotland! We had been paid by cheque -it was 1 o'clock in the morning, in the middle of Glasgow, and we had hardly any cash. The BGA road crew managed to fit the equipment into the back of their artic - thanks guys, what would we have done without you? So where do we go? The Glasgow constabulary saved the day! They put us up for the night in a cell in Glasgow central police station. For security reasons, we were locked in - no beds, just a slightly raised section of the concrete floor! They gave us mattresses - made of 1-inch thick low-density foam! In the early hours, we were given some breakfast, which was gruesome! About an hour later, we were let out from the cell. We were offered a cup of tea, which we refused, saying that we had already had one. The sergeant laughed, saying "- surely, you didn't drink that, did you? That muck is for the prisoners!" - The van was found later that day, in the Gorbals, with only a side window broken.

Talking of spending time in a cell - we also played a gig at Chelmsford Prison! The van was searched on the way in and out (think about it!) - we had tea served to us by a murderer in the governors' office! - played to a captive audience that was so-o-o-o stoned you just would not believe it - and received the following letter! Another great gig! The film "Porridge" was filmed at Chelmsford - but we didn't meet Norman Stanley Fletcher!
The Letter