I grew up in Derby where I became fascinated by science in general and chemistry inparticular. At secondary school I quickly met Tony who was as interested in geology as I was in chemistry. We soon began caving which with Derbyshire's mineralisation satisfied both our interests. Like all teenagers we were into music and Tony started to play the guitar, eventually getting together with a few friends to form groups and even managing to get a few gigs round Derby. By then I had gained some knowledge of electronics and so often got roped in to fix and set up gear and was granted the sobriquet of 'road manager'. Despite having no musical leanings and a horror of public appearance, I was eventually persuaded to play the bass guitar to fill in for an unreliable bassist. This looked like a fair option as four strings had to be easier to play than six.
Tony's musical taste also encompassed folk music which was flourishing at the time. He regularly did guest spots in the local folk clubs which where springing up like mushrooms. I occasionally performed with him attempting to play bass on a six string acoustic. After we went our various ways to university, Tony and I still played the folk clubs, often in the North Riding - we both had girlfriends there.
Eventually I graduated in chemistry to find that so had what felt like half the undergraduate population. A huge oversupply of chemists meant no job, so in desperation I moved in with Tony in London and began looking for work there. Thus began a time of incredible creativity: tie-dying, batik, candle making, painting and, of course, playing music. I quickly realised that I needed to record Tony's increasingly impressive songs and so bought a Ferrograph Series 7 tape recorder. This had track bouncing facilities so we could add one track at a time, building up the layers of songs - but sadly in mono. And so, with the help of Caroline, we gradually recorded the songs that were to become 'All On The First Day'. Renting studio time to produce the final master tape and cut the master disc was a real high and eventually we were the proud possessors of 99 records (the 100th attracted tax on the whole lot). As ever, we hand-made the sleeve art and distributed some to friends and family.
At about this time we met Simon, and Tony re-met(!) Rod and the music became more rock influenced. We also started to jam regularly and it wasn't long before I was recording those sessions on the faithful Ferrograph and copying the better tracks to cassette. Even the recording tape we made ourselves by slitting half inch computer tape on a jig I made.
All things must pass and eventually jobs took us in various directions but we still got together to record and jam. By this time I had decided I had to record in stereo so had built myself a mixer and some outboard gear and bought a Dokorder 4 track machine and some decent Calrec mics. Some of the tracks on 'Retrospect' were recorded then and some after an upgrade to a Tascam 4 track.
We're still jamming but now the tracks are recorded on DAT, edited on a PC, post-produced and finalised on CD; and we keep on playing ...
John Clark 1949-2005. RIP, we miss you, man!