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A Life in Music?

Chapter One: 'From Little Acorns... you get indigestion...'

The urge to 'get up there' started young, my Grandfather had always said that "I had been vaccinated with a Gramophone Needle" and that "I was a good turn, but on too long". He had always been able to pick up and play almost any instrument. Growing up, I was never really introduced formally to music (There was never any in the house) but, I had the usual recorder and piano lessons (I used to hide outside my piano teachers house until I was discovered ...anything was better than doing duets with my younger brother, Richard) and I would never ever practice. At primary school, I formed my first band, Freddie & the Frogs, who would sport flippers and goggles whist singing "We all live in a Yellow Frogmobile..." in the playground. Unfortunately, fame remained elusive.

At about the age of 12/13, I was part of a gang of lads that 'hung out' together. One of these lads, Stevie, had an older brother and to us "young 'uns", he was a God! Mickie Pearson had at least 30 LPs, these were all ordered away in plastic LP cases. To be invited to listen to an LP, up in Mickie's room was an honour.. and though it only happened twice, I can still remember hearing my first Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and ELP albums there. My pal, Ian, had all the Wishbone Ash LPs, and we listened to them all the time. When Ash played the Leeds Town Hall in 1972, I got to go to my first Rock concert. We didn't know what to do, so we ended up 'head banging' along with everybody else there. I only had a Mono Dansette to play my three LPs on. (2 Lindisfarnes and an Alice Cooper) and LPs cost lots of money! I vividly recall Ian and I having to walk home from town, because I couldn't afford to both buy "School's Out" (with the original paper knickers on..) and have bus fare. Ian could play a little guitar, and I'd inherited my grandfather's Banjo and a beat up cheap classical six string. I taught myself some chords and we jammed Ash and Cooper tracks together.

Chapter Two: 'Audiophilia is a dirty word...'

At Grammar School, I was further introduced to "Rock" music by my long suffering best friend Simon Baskind (more of whom later). He had a drum kit, played in a band and had many more LPs than Mickie P! He loved Zappa, Beefheart, Led Zeppelin and most of all, Jethro Tull, and he played "Thick as a Brick" at me until I 'got the point'. I bought Aqualung and Genesis Live and have never looked back since.Simon and another sixth former Chris Reed (of Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry fame) were playing in a very amateur band called ACROMASIA (colour blindness?). I volunteered my services as lead vocalist. They argued, discussed it and finally decided to enrol my Shure Microphone & 100 Watt PA system ... oh, and so they had to take me to go with it. We rehearsed in badly lit, freezing cold cellars in Leeds suburbs, playing covers by Free, The Groundhogs, Pink Fairies and a Wishbone Ash number ... and a few embryonic in house efforts. We organised a local support gig, printed ACROMASIA tee shirts, presented ourselves at the Church Hall to be turned away, because, the vicar thought he was getting a classical quartet. Fame remained elusive... When ACROMASIA disbanded, I hunted about for my next line-up.

It was in the lower sixth, that I grouped together some 'classically' trained girls ,Viv (Piano) and my girlfriend Jo (Violin) with myself (guitar and vocals), Melvyn (bass) and Robert 'Prune' Addlestone (Flute) to create FOXTROT. For this ambitious troupe, I started to write my first pieces and saw the Progressive 'writing on the wall'. Two of the pieces were suites. 'Seeds of Time' (a modest 15 minute three section affair) and 'The Foundation & Empire Suite' wending its mysterious ways through 20 minutes of segued song and instrumental passages. This line up allowed me my first glimpse of a recording studio. We hired a new 4 track to record 'TFAES'. The facilities were poor, we had no real multi tracking and so had to perform this 20 minuter at least 10 times over to get it committed to tape! But what a rush! This band broke up finally with musical differences (some of them could play and some of us could not!)

The girls were off to Music College and I was off to study English. Then, after a long spell walking round Israel, I wound up at Manchester Polytechnic studying Psychology and Sociology. On the Psychology course, I made friends with Jim Parris. He played bass, and we ended up in several crappy jazz bands, before he formed a band with his girlfriend Carmel McCourt. When Jims' cousin Gerry arrived to play the drums, the embryonic jazz ensemble 'Carmel' was started up, but of course, by this time, I was on my way back to Leeds. Fame remained elusive...
(I've still got demos that Jim and I made in his Moss Side flat, which he can purchase from me at 'Blackmail Corner' for a reasonable price....)

Chapter Three: 'The Wilderness Years...'

The call of the wild came and I moved out to Todmorden in the Pennines. This was at times, paradise, boring as hell, eccentric, foolhardy... depended on the Season. Todmorden (roughly German for 'dead body' ... should have guessed really).
Still... I started demoing on a Teac Portastudio in my sound-proofed basement and waited for the big break. Simon B. was now in a new Leeds band 'Errors Under Pressure'. I heard the demos and wondered if I could join. I did and true to form very soon afterwards, the band gave up the ghost. Simon and I got tickets to the WOMAD of '82 and set off South to join our friends at Shepton Mallet. Luckily, Simon knew the organisers and we ended up in the 'Burundi Drummers' entourage. Peter Gabriel popped in to say hello, on occasions too. The Burundis were superb and in the magnificent carnival atmosphere, sitting on a grassy knoll (between the Tie Dye tent, the transcendental meditation sessions, the 'Make a Bong' Club and Annette Peacock in the Jazz tent), we decided on our return to form the definitive Leeds band... LET'S EAT.

We set up our gear in the local Centre for the Deaf (in the hope that we wouldn't be thrown out by any critic). The initial line up was Simon (drums) , Myself (guitar/vocals), William Tanner (bass) and Anthony Marks (Keyboards and wiggle). We put together a set of incomprehensible songs in an '80s style and went off to make our fortune.

We were entered into a 'Battle of the Bands' and got through to the final! At the leading Rock venue of the North (Halifax Town Hall), we strutted our stuff to an awed five people, two hacks, one cat and a potential 'John Peel' (the man never turned up... if he had, he wouldn't have been playing the Fall for the last twenty years... Yes, folks, there were bigger noises in the World). Anyhow, we lost... or should I say came second to a very talented bunch of lads... THE WORD (Featuring Jon Binns on drums!!!...see later for his entry into the story).

Fame, for them, has remained elusive... We went through a number of line-ups, replacing everyone but me. We even had a budgie playing at one point (on bell). LET'S EAT gave way to the infinitely more successful BAILEY'S RETURN. This line-up (Me, William and the Portastudio) broke up when the Teac went solo. The next BAILEY'S RETURN featured Jonathan Barrett (more of whom later) and a strange Italian called Roberto. We had a drum machine. We had talent. What we didn't have was an audience. Fame remained elusive... Sensibly, Jonathan teamed up with his old mucker Jason Feddy to form the tasteful Officer Dibble whilst I...

Chapter Four: 'Hey man, pass me the nails and the 2x4...'

...found myself being head-hunted by the strangest group of misfit individuals there has ever been a band formed from. "THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS" was the name. The lead singer, Paul (Marquis De Mirror) Hancock had been on the scene for a while and had assembled a line-up which was completed by guitarist Kevin 'Flash of Lightning' Sanders, co-vocalist, Julia 'I'll wear the nuns costume, but I don't want it to become a habit' Morris, Steve (Keyboard) Spangles, bassist Clive (the one without the personality), Bryan (who was at times, roadie, confident and arrhythmic dancer) and Paul "the unipod" (again, an all rounder, though he had but one). This set of people, had performed to rave reviews when they re-enacted narrative, allegorical tales of death and destruction on a Biblical scale (...if God had been performing on a shoestring budget too...). The stage show was climaxed by a joint 'on-stage crucifixion and display of flagellation'. I was recruited to replace the departing Spangles. I liked this band, they were my kind of musicians... out on a limb, doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong place... Surely this time I couldn't have misjudged the situation... But, oh boy! The band sort of imploded first, the aging Marquis becoming at times unstable and arguing with Flash. The line-up signed a management contract with a local 'entrepreneur' and then the two 'Heads of State' fell out, big time. So... the band split via a 'coup d'etat' into two units...
We formed KING GLASS and Paul was left with THROUGH THE LOO. We set out to 'outshine' our previous glories and planned the 'big one' - an all-out pyrotechnic set 'masterpiece'. We re-crafted the old songs we'd composed, I wrote some new ones and we set our sights on the Warehouse in Leeds to debut it. Unfortunately, beset by oncoming 'problems, Flash, wasn't really up to it. Life was difficult for a while. I personally perfected the four minute mile on one occasion, when I saw the glint of switchblade coming for me. This band could have been great, but... Fame remained elusive...

Chapter Five: 'Ivory Towers...'

KING GLASS couldn't survive its membership. After the Warehouse gig and a spate of cut down less theatrical dates, the band folded. We had just finished a BBC session, which we were producing in a local Leeds Studio.

This studio, was the domain of one Andy Tillison, whose name now appears and who will be with us up to the end of this tale. Andy had dominated the Leeds scene in a number of influential bands, New Opera and at the time we became acquainted GOLD, FRANKINCENSE & DISK-DRIVE (GFDD), the first line-up of which, included my old amigo, Jonathan Barrett. Andy and I had 'worked' together on a paying demo at Lion Studios before, but struck up a mutual appreciation society during the KING GLASS sessions. When KING GLASS died, I approached Andy with regard to helping me do a Solo project. As it turned out, I joined G,F&DD just before he decided to reduce its ranks and concentrate on recording work. So, GFDD became Andy and me. We pooled our equipment resources, installed ourselves on the top floor of the Leeds College of Technology (Andy lectures here, so our gear became the Audio Course!), and started into writing. As a first idea and to get us into it, Andy played me some Van Der Graaf Generator cover versions he'd assembled. These sounded good! We decided our first joint effort would include a side of VDGG/Peter Hammill compositions and a side of original
GFDD pieces. The "No More Travelling Chess.." project was born.

We contacted the ex-members of VDGG, went for a lovely day trip to see Peter Hammill at Crescent studios in Bath, got consent, lyrics for one most obscure song and his support. Andy, had been in contact with VDGG Keyboards man Hugh Banton for some years (having been at the same school) and when we outlined our plans, he agreed to play on some future pieces. Excellent! We released the album on Mail Order only cassettes (it was later released on CD as a Parallel or Ninety Degrees album).
Hammill, apparently, liked to play it in the car. So onto the next album.... We enrolled Jonathan Barrett and Andy's old New Opera sticksman Dave Albone and we wrote and worked on what was to become GFDDs last work "It's not the end of the World....but you can see it from here" (On which Hugh Banton plays). I love this album, though it has only been heard by few. It took a year of effort to create it and by the time it was finished, Andy was ready for something new. Our personal lives had been chaotic throughout the recordings and circumstances dictated that a change of direction was needed for both of us

Chapter Six: 'Hanging on in quiet desperation...'

We thought about forming a Progressive Covers band and, to this end, set out to reproduce and perform Pink Floyds' "Dark Side of The Moon". The line-up was completed by Sam Baine (Andy's girlfriend of the time) and a powerful PC. There were only 2 performances, but both were great. One in Andy & Sam's back garden to fans and friends and a more 'lavish' production later, complete with costly effects such as a balsa wood plane travelling across the stage, propelled by a sparkler cellotaped to its tail... and... two helium filled Pink Pig party balloons. However, I knew that this was just a phase, and that Andy would form another 'proper' line-up eventually. Andy decided to take a break from music for a while, and then bounced back with the innovative PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES (PO90) line-up. This band would stick to its principals and play Progressive Rock (but in a modern style) as this genre, long derided, was now making a comeback. Andy and Sam, composed and performed in an ambient project (Sanctum) first and then settled happily into PO90. Jonathan Barrett rejoined them on bass and guitarist Graham Young completed the band. And Me? Well, I set up studio at home and started putting together a list of songs for my long overdue solo project. Fame was just waiting around the next corner...

Chapter Seven: 'Something Old, S
omething New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue'

I asked Andy to help me out on keyboards/co-production, Jonathan to provide the bass (in the way that only he can) and, at long last, I got Simon to get his Drums out again... well at least for some cymbals and brushes parts. The work was to be called "Tall Stories for Small Children" (The title having been around since my FOXTROT days!). The pieces were to be drawn from a long long list dating way back to school. They were to be re-arranged and form a narrative based set of songs and suites. The CD artwork was provided by my children, pictures to go along with all the songs, in a sort of story book format. The album took about eight months to complete and I think it turned out very well. It has been bought by a discerning minority so far! CYCL 078 on CYCLOPS records.(and later remastered and re-released on F2 Ed.)

It has its own original mini site on this Web Site. Check out the "Tall Stories..." section for the lyrics, annotated notes, credits etc..

So, then I completed the guitar/vocal parts for the 1999 PO90 album "The Time Capsule" (...just guesting...). and started to record my follow up album.
Andy, Jonathan and Simon were again on it as was Iain Fairbairn & Ian Tothill (2 fiddle players) plus the first arrival of sax virtuoso (and all round lovely...) Laura Fowles (who had been introduced to me through percussionist Pav Chana, who ahd played on TSFSC)

Chapter Eight: 'The Brave New World...'

'No More Travelling Chess' (the old GFDD Cassette only release) was let out by CYCLOPS on CD (CYCL086) under the name of Andys' band 'Parallel Or 90 Degrees'.

My promised TALL STORIES follow up album was called "The Cure", a full concept album was created (CYCL088). (and later remastered and re-released on F2 Ed.)

Quite moody and dark, this appeals to those with headphones and liking of late nights!!

To play some LIVE dates, I put together a BAND!!!!

We were asked to support 70's prog rockers GREENSLADE at the Classic Rock Society date in February 2001

The Line-up was to be as follows:
Jonathan Barrett : The Bass & Backing Vocals
Laura Fowles : Saxophone, Keyboards, Percussion & Backing Vocals
Neil Harris : Keyboards & Backing Vocals
John Hobson : Drums & Percussion
Guy Manning : Guitars, Keyboards & Vocals

Chapter Nine: '...Wishing Away Our Tomorrows...'

Jonathan Barrett, the long term Bass & Backing Vocals player decided to leave the band...suddenly.. in Feb 2001 to go join an Irish folk band.
Neil and Guy played an 'unplugged' set as support to GREENSLADE as a result of being left high 'n dry by Jonathan, which went down surprisingly well.
I contacted 'Mostly Autumn' to request Angela Goldsthorpe (now Gordon ..Ed.) for some Flutes sessions on the next album and she agreed!

And so, work started on a new CD "Cascade" for 2001 release.
The 'Cascade' recording sessions got underway in the recording studio [now named BURNSIDE] with Angela providing Flute and Recorders!
Despite the initial leaks and 'techie' problems these went very well. This was the first album of mine NOT to feature Andy Tillison, who was busy with PO90 at the time.

Ex-PO90 guitarist Gareth Harwood (freshly back from work abroad) joined me to provide electric guitar parts

Cascade was given catalogue number CYCL 105 by CYCLOPS and the album went into song and artwork production in May 2001as a limited edition run of 500 copies only. (and later re-released on Burnside Ed.)

"CASCADE" CD was released UK September 6th 2001

Aug 01 2001 - New CD Demo work started..they say .he never stops???!!!
Sep 10 2001 - Rick Ashton joined on the bass to replace Jonathan

Chapter Ten: 'Who's on First?'

The working album title for the next CD was "The Ragged Curtain" featuring a long 20+ minutes piece and this was assigned CYCL115 on CYCLOPS records.

In Dec 2001, John Hobson left the band to concentrate on work in London following our joint redundancy from Airtours (the swines!).

Jonathan MacDonald Binns joined up on Drums & Percussion. Jon was with Chrysalis band POPPY FACTORY (and with THE WORD...see earlier) before retiring for a while...but we persuaded him to come back into the fray!

In March 2002, we booked into Fairview Studios in Hull to work with engineer/producer John Spence. John S. had previously worked with Mostly Autumn, The Beautiful South, The Mission, Bill Nelson and host of others. Angela Gordon (nee Goldsthorpe) again agreed to join us on flutes and recorders!

We also planned to go out on tour with Parallel Or 90 Degrees for some joint dates, but this plan fell over one night in Bradford when both bands nearly came to blows about stage layout ..too many damn keyboards!

"The Ragged Curtain" was officially released in Jan 2003 on CYCLOPS (CYCL115) and attracted a wider audience than before. I started my own Newsgroup for all those interested in MANNING activities and waited for a while (well a week actually) before starting another!

Chapter Eleven: 'The Minds Eye...'

After much soul searching and demands on his time, Jonathan MacDonald Binns decided to leave the band and at the same time, Neil Harris found a BLONDIE tribute band (ATOMIC) that he decided was more rewarding. I settled down in my small converted garage recording studio to write the demos for the next album with a working title "The View From My Window"

Angela was approached again, but had to politely refuse this time because her new record company CLASSIC ROCK PRODUCTIONS would not let her 'moonlight'. I rang up KARNATAKA to see if ANNE-MARIE HELDER would be interested but found her a little too expensive on my meagre budget. The demos were finished and I started to farm out parts to Laura, Gareth & Rick. Still needed a drummer though! Pav Chana (the multi percussionist I had worked with on "TALL STORIES...") agreed to play on "VIEW" in return for me working with Laura and himself on a 'chillout' album (..still in progress Sept 2006!). I advertised for a drummer and was surprised when Hugh Whitaker (ex-THE HOUSEMARTINS) rang up. He was at a loose end and fancied a go and eventually put down parts for the big piece on "VIEW..." called 'SUITE: DREAMS'; Andy Tillison was on hand again with keys parts and took on some more drumming chores too.

The CRS again asked us to play in May 2003 (as support to 70's prog rockers FOCUS this time). I put a band together formed from Laura, Rick, Gareth plus Andy on Keys and a session drummer (John Southerden). Despite some last minute hitches, we went down very well indeed that night

"The View From My Window" was assigned catalogue number CYCL136, for release JAN 2004 (World wide; as CYCLOPS sell them mail order for some 3 months before that)

During the VIEW recording time, I was asked by Andy, to join him a new project called THE TANGENT. The story of this project is well documented on the TANGENT website (www.thetangent.org) but suffice so say...putting out an album featuring a joint contribution from

Andy Tillison (Keys, Vocals) [PO90]
Sam Baine (Piano) [PO90]
Roine Stolt (Electric Guitar, Vocals) [The Flower Kings]
Jonas Rheingold (Bass) [The Flower Kings]
Zoltan Csorsz (Drums) [The Flower Kings]
David Jackson (Saxes & Flutes) [ex Van Der Graaf Generator]

...was a great pleasure and honour (and I provided Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin & Vocals)

THE VIEW FROM MY WINDOW was released October 2003

THE TANGENT "Music That Died Alone" was released September 22nd 2003

Chapter Twelve: 'Back To The Future'

Dec 2003 - New Album demos started for the next Project:
"A Matter of Life & Death (The Journal of Abel Mann)"
(A Concept album based on the "TALL STORIES..." character)

1.The Dream
2.Nobody's Fool
4.The River OF Time
5.Silent Man
6.Falling Down? Rising Up!
7.Life's Disguises
8.Out Of My Life
9.Midnight Sail

Recording sessions get underway:
Ian 'Walter' Fairbairn added some great Fiddle parts to this more 'rootsy' album.
John Tipping, a young Devonshire drummer added his parts to the demos.
Rick & Gareth finally got to sing backing parts!
Andy Tillison got to rock 'n roll boogie on 'Midnight Sail' and put his new vintage Mini-Moog to use on 'The Dream' (sadly now sold...Ed.)

Neil Harris rejoined to stand behind the Keyboards once more and put some piano, melodica, percussion & vocal parts down for the new album.

CYCLOPS then informed me that they could NOT afford to put the album out and that I must make my own arrangements. I assembled a press pack and started to canvass Record labels looking for a new MANNING Home.

MANNING finally signed to ProgRock (a US Label) to release the new album!
Release date was October 26th 2005 (PRR 138).

August 2004 - Work was completed on the next the TANGENT album "The World That We Drive Through"
The album was released on InsideOut October 4th 2004 and got very favourable reviews.

The Colossus "Spaghetti Western" Project for which "La Voce Del Vento" (Guy & Any) provided a 25 minute suite ("Harmonica") was released in October 2004.

Chapter Thirteen: 'One Step Beyond...'

Into 2005 and a new large EPIC was being written...the 8 part title track to the new album "One Small Step..."

'La Voce Del Vento' started work on BAD (Spaghetti Epic #2) for the next Colossus Project album

Martin Orford (ex -IQ) agreed to perform the flute parts written for the long suite and sent over the finished recorded wavs to be assembled in Burnside.

Guy spent time in Rodez, France (with Andy Tillison and Sam Baine), recording his Acoustic guitar and Vocal parts for the new the TANGENT album "A Place In The Queue"

Van Der Graaf Generator reformed and recorded a new album and play gigs!! Guy, Andy & Sam are on Row 6 of the Royal Festival Hall for the first night......what a superb gig!!

The live band started to rehearse for a couple of UK dates.
The band supported FOCUS again and went down brilliantly!
Mainly performing the suite, "ONE SMALL STEP...". (All 30+mins - one of only 2 performances of this piece ever done)

"ONE SMALL STEP..." was released on Oct 17 2005 by ProgRock records (PRR 139)

1. In Swingtime
2. Night Voices
3. No Hiding Place
4. The Mexico Line

One Small Step (Parts I-VIII)
5. Star Gazing
6. For Example
7. At The End Of My Rope
8. Man Of God
9. A Blink Of The Eye
10. God Of Man
11. Black And Blue
12. Upon Returning

Chapter Fourteen: 'Keeping it in the family'

With Julie (Manning) King now seconded into the LIVE outfit, Xmas came and went.

As usual, by January 2006, I had no ideas in my head and was starting to panic. I had been doodling in the studio for a few weeks and had some sketches started, but no real theme. I talked to Julie about it all and told her I had songs ideas about different people and times but no skeletal structure. She suggested that maybe all these people were related in some way and from that single simple idea I started to construct "Anser's Tree"

The family tree of Dr. Jonathan Anser, living in 2089 and beyond.

An Archaeologist digging in one of the last few remaining places above water (after the Polar caps finally melted).

"ANSER'S TREE" (PRR 270) was released in October 2006.

The TANGENT "A Place In The Queue" was released on Feb 6th 2006.

Chapter Fifteen: 'Stage antics'

The band was invited to perform at the brand new Summer's End Festival in 2006. We did an acoustic set featuring Steve Dundon (Flutes), David Million (Elec. Gtr), Julie King (Keys/Vox/Perc), Laura Fowles Sax/Vox/Perc), Rick Ashton (Bass) and myself. A short set of songs which went down very well!

THE TANGENT decided to play some UK dates and at last I was invited to take my rightful place on stage with the others. Two dates were arranged. One at the CRS in Rotherham and the following night at the Riga Club in Southend-on-sea. This second date was to be filmed for a DVD live album release in 2007
(Released July 2007 as "GOING OFF ON ONE").

Many adventures befell me as I ran up and down the motorway carrying car loads of equipment, but suffice to say...all was well that ended well ...(tired though we all were!).

The GUY MANNING & FRIENDS band also did the TANGENT support slot at the Rotherham CRS (at the last minute after the original support band cancelled).

Back at home, after all the excitement had died down, I doodled with some new ideas but in a very unhurried way.

However, when I was at the Summers' End festival, I had stayed at a hotel in the company of White Willow (a great band from Norway).

The hotel had 2 interesting features:
1. It was inhabited by a Macaw called Barney
2. It was just down the road from an abandoned old house....

On the way to the gig, I stopped to take a photo of the Bilston House.
A double fronted building with the windows all boarded up and the words
" Do Not Enter Here! The Last Person Died" painted in red paint on both bay windows. I think I knew then, as I asked myself just what had gone on in
there, that there was an album to be made!

"Songs From The Bilston House"

Each song was to be set within a location in the house.
No real mystery, no murder or menace, simply tales set within the
boundary of one particular place over many years.

The following pieces went into production:

1. Songs from the Bilston House (The House)
2. The Calm Absurd (Study)
3. Lost In Play (Garden)
4. Understudy (Chapel)
5. Skimming Stones (Master Bedroom)
6. Antares (Attic)
7. Icarus & Me (Music Room)
8. Pillars Of Salt (Parlour)
9. Inner Moment (Hallway/Front door)

The 'usual suspects' were rounded up to help out in its creation:

David Million - Electric guitars
Laura Fowles - Saxes and Vocals
Steve Dundon - Flutes
Ian 'Walter' Fairbairn - Fiddle
Andy Tillison - Additional keyboards, Drums and Vocals
Julie King - Vocals

I provided the 6 & 12 String Acoustic and Classical guitars, Electric Gtr, Mandolins, Bouzouki, Keyboards, Bass, Percussion and Vocals

Produced by Andy Tillison / Guy Manning

The LIVE Tangent album "GOING OFF ON ONE" was released June 2007

"SONGS FROM THE BILSTON HOUSE" was released October 2007 on our new label FESTIVAL MUSIC (F2)

Chapter Sixteen: 'The return of the Studio Mole'

Having released "...BILSTON", I was persuaded that it was time to get the show on the road once again. There was talk from Festival Music (F2) about a potential live album/DVD shoot and some European dates possibly!
But the live band had some serious obstacles to overcome...Laura (fresh from her support slot with TAKE THAT) was going to Ibiza for nearly a year and so would not be about for live gigs. Dave Million decided to take a sabbatical from the band...so I had to find NEW musicians again...Oh no!!

Having paced ads on a lot of 'muso' websites, I sat back waiting for the flood of offers! First to arrive was Phil Wilkes, a very handy keys player who lived near me in Leeds and is paid up member of the CRS (so he knows his 'prog'). Next, surprisingly I managed to entice Kris Hudson-Lee, 5 string bass player (and CRS Director) into the fold as he was just quitting his former outfit, 'Crimes Of Passion' at the time.

Kev Currie was sponsored by Phil as a hopeful for the Electric guitarist player role...which just left the drummer to find. After some searching an auditioning, we found Danny Rhodes and the core band was complete.

We had some dates in the diary, mainly short support or multi band sets but with a promise of more dates in the Autumn 2008!

So, you find yourself with some time, so what do you do?....write another Manning album of course!!
The new album went into production but with no real release time scale as LIVE rehearsals etc. distracted from the normal Annual cycle.

I also contributed to my WIKI entry to make it more comprehensive/accurate and was punished for that!

The TANGENT also recorded and released "NOT AS GOOD AS THE BOOK" and then
was invited to Headline the Sunday night at the 2008 Summer's End Festival. I was asked to be a part of this date, so the back end of August was be spent getting the new set up to speed...

Chapter Seventeen: 'Looking back over the years...'

So the new line-up TANGENT headlined the Sunday night at the 2008.

Andy, Theo & Jakko were augmented by BEARDFISH a young band from Sweden. We went down a week prior to the gig to rehearse and meet the lads. A nicer bunch you'll never meet and a talented bunch to boot.
We rehearsed up 1.5 hrs of Tangent , Manning & Beardfish tunes to play and also our secret cover version of Yes' "Yours is no disgrace'. The festival was great and we went down very well indeed!!!!

On returning up North and saying goodbye to Beardfish, my attention was brought back to the new album in progress.
We also had to get a live set together to be special guests of ALSO EDEN at the Robin2 in Bilston. So busy, busy times!

Dave Million agreed to rejoin the live band and take the lead guitar pressure off Kev a bit, but Danny Rhodes decided that he would have to leave the band at the end of 2008.

2009 was the tenth year of my album releases and the new album was to be formerly called "Number Ten" (as a consequence). There were important portents hanging over 2009!

So, the new album had its challenges. Andy agreed to produce again, but his own time pressures with new musical and personal commitments meant that we had to squeeze the album production time and put its release back into 2009 (instead of the usual 'end of the year' slot).
( "So, maybe I'd get in some 'Best of the year' polls this time ??" - no flipping chance! Ed)

Number Ten was made up of 8 tracks, all different and some quite punchy!
Plenty of good tunes, interesting (I hoped) lyrics and good sing along bits!
You can read all about it on the Albums page so I won't bore you with it here.

I had a longish cast list for this album as well. The usual suspects of Andy (Drums/Keys), Laura (Alto Sax/Vocals), Ian (Fiddle) & Steve (Flute/Tenor Sax) turned out again. DaveM. put some lovely guitar work
0own and we also enlisted Pav Chana on Percussion plus Ed Neidhardt on Soprano Sax & Bass Clarinet.
I also, finally got to sing a duet with Julie King on "Valentine's night"!

So, we were now looking on passed Xmas and to getting back together in early 2009 to launch "Number Ten" with our new drummer.... Mr.David Albone

Plenty of excitement was to come in this 10th Anniversary year!!

Chapter Eighteen: 'Setting sail...'

2009 was indeed a year of ups and downs......!

"Number Ten" was released in Feb 2009 (to great reviews I am glad to say...)

We had started the year at last with a steady live line-up and were playing gigs (which included the 2009 Cambridge Rock Festival). The gig was a great experience and we went down superbly, but, when we had come back down to Earth, changes needed to be made and both Dave Million and Phil Wilkes retired from the band.
We thought finding replacements would be hard and this was indeed the case, especially replacing the Keyboards!. I can play some of these parts but cannot do everything at once and so we needed to find someone and fast.

Chris Catling arrived to take over the lead guitaring for the band and settled in very quickly!

The search, for my keyboard apprentice, continued...

Meantime, what can a guy do? I write, so I started to think about composing the next MANNING studio album.
No inspiration came until I was in Cornwall with the family and we visited a working port, Charlestown.
Hearing about the history of the port and its tall ships leaving to sail round Lands End to Bristol and back again got me to thinking. I started to research into the port, the boats, the life.

Having got back home and into my studio, the central epic piece sprang to life and is a modest 35 mins! Supporting pieces were also written or resurrected to fill c. 64 mins in total.

We recorded the drums live in Orion Studios. (My first real drum recording session since "The Ragged Curtain")

During this time, I also contributed some parts towards the new TANGENT album "Down & Out in Paris & London" . The album was released in Nov 2009.

After some search, we found our new Keyboards player, Tim Leadbeater, who got to work trying to fathom out what the hell had been played on the albums and then change the parts to meet a Live Set performance - poor sod!

So.....2010 was going to be busy with gigs, recording and the run up to ROSFEST in May and we were all very excited about it..

Chapter Nineteen: 'Low hanging fruit...'

2010 had been a blast!
We had flown out to Gettysburg to perform at the fabulous ROSFEST, an experience like no other before it....
..then it was down to Earth again with a bump as Dave Albone announced his retirement from music altogether due to medical problems and a desire for a normal life!

Also, (after some discussion) I decided it was time for me to leave THE TANGENT formally and so an announcement was made to that effect and of course, nobody noticed!.

"Charlestown" was released in October 2010 and did very,very well, being critically well received nearly everywhere with fantastic 10/10 scores! Rosie did the front cover for us. A lovely Roger Dean-esque image!

After a lot of searchi
ng and try outs which resulted in some short lived line-ups, John Kennard joined the troupe to replace Dave as our Drummer and percussionist - plus he could sing too!

We decided to try and get out there and gig more and to that end, bought our own MannVan (a 9 seater touring van)! We attempted to get over the channel into Europe but this turns out to be nigh on impossible with the state of the economy and live music the way they are! (i.e. venues closing down or only booking tribute bands!)
However, a return (albeit as Akoustik Manning) to the Cambridge Rock Festival 2011 was booked.

Meanwhile, the writing bug again came upon me and I assembled seven new pieces towards a next studio album. I decided to revisit my 2006 concept album ANSER'S TREE for a sequel ("Margaret's Children") and to look again for interesting characters and storylines from that family's genealogy.

Ed Unitsky was contacted and graciously agreed to re-engineer the original cover artwork for this sequel.

John Kennard left the band whilst we were recording the album but stayed on to help Guy with the album's drum programming, backing vocals and added some Darbuka playing. He was succeeded by Joe Casey.

Alison Diamond was not available for the wind parts this time around and so I searched about and found (through ProgRock's Shawn Gordon) Marek Arnold
a fantastically talented player based in Germany.
Marek signed up for the album on Saxes and Clarinet.

Leon Camfield from my musical mates TINYFISH agreed to come up North and add in lots of assorted percussion to it (a fantastic weekend of chaos!)

The only thing left to find was an American New Yorker voice over to act out the part of the MC at the Savoy nightclub in 1933. After a competition to find the best entry, the part actually went to another musical friend of mine, Phideaux!

Just before "Margaret's Children" was released in November 2011, Tim Leadbeater announced his decision to retire from the band at Xmas and the hunt for a suitable new keys player began again!

We recruited Martin Thiselton to play the keys! A thoroughly lovely bloke who can bang out a tune on the old Joanna :)

John Kennard had also left and so young Master Rick Henry was asked to enlist on Drums and Percussion

Chapter Twenty: 'Oh No, the electricity has gone off...'

What to do, what to do!
People kept telling me to take a year off from releases (...too much of a good thing I guess), but I felt odd doing that, I had a cycle, a fixed point in each year,...what would I use, to fill, the empty spaces...oh my..I've gone all Roger Waters. We talked about a live album but no one had the appetite or more importantly, the budget to put us through that! I think it was Kev (Currie) who first suggested that we really needed to record one of our lovely AKOUSTIK shows at some point and the idea was good, it blossomed...I liked it! It fulfilled all the criteria. it was not hard to do, was still a bona fide release, showed the other side of what the band can do and highlighted some of the forgotten back catalogue songs.

So, the "AKOUSTIK" album was started. I just picked out some of my faves that I thought could benefit from a re-arrangement for this setting and laid down the basic backing tracks. All the band had to do was to play what they normally played (no more, no less) ..EASY (I thought!)...best laid plans and all that...I think it was the fact that it was so easy to do and no challenge...but I had to drag some of the parts out of them! Plus the band itself was going through a transition now. Chris & Kev (plus Steve we later found) were leaving for pastures new /old and David Million was returning to the line-up. Consequently we ended up with 4 guitar players on the album (not that that is a bad thing necessarily)!

Anyhow (as per the normal album cycle) it was released (somewhat under the radar) in Nov 2012 and actually has been very well received....you just cannot keep good songs down !!!

We also did our first foray into Europe with band mates THE TANGENT and had a thoroughly great time....but as we say.....'What happens in Europe stays in Europe' so I sadly cannot reveal more for fear of embarrassing certain band members!

The touring year and the current MANNING band line-up ended at Summers End 2012 where we headlined in the fabulous Saturday afternoon slot. Another triumphant show and a real high for us to bid fond farewell to Chris, Kev & Steve.

At home again, I stared to demo tunes pretty much straight away for the next studio album

As always, fame has remained elusive!

Chapter Twenty One: 'Going back to my roots - - -yeah!...'

That next album materialised as the critically well received "The Root, the Leaf & the Bone" in October 2013.
This added Chlöe Herrington and John Young to the list of special guests providing parts for a Manning album!

The band then embarked on a couple of UK live dates to promote the album which were in fact to be their last as an on going live outfit

With these out the way, Guy 'retired' the live band in order to slow the pace down a bit, continue to write and also look for other opportunities and collaborations.

The AKOUSTIK trio (GuyM, JulieK, DaveM) however, played Resonance Festival and also flew out to Chicago to do full concert in 2014.

The "AKOUSTIK #2 "album was also released in October 2014 and nobody seemed to notice !!

Chapter Twenty Two: 'I come from a land down under....'

Whilst thinking that things were about to go quiet for a bit, suddenly, Mark 'Truey' Trueack (from Unitopia) was in touch about some thing new. Having struck up a friendship at Summers End some years earlier, Mark now asked Guy to get involved with his new Project, the United Progressive Fraternity.
Unitopia was on hiatus whilst Mark and Sean (Timms) did their own thing and there was an album to record and a short promo tour to do (including Summers End 2014). Mark needed help. not only with the musical arrangements but also recruiting the missing band members...next came the great Bass Player and Wind Player Search!


Bass Players -
John Jowitt was in the frame originally then had to sadly withdraw, so Guy contacted Steve Gee (Landmarq) who started in on reviewing the material. After a few weeks, Steve too found it a bit too much to commit to, as Landmarq were now busy as well, So, Guy contacted his pal Jonathan Barrett (ex-Tangent and Manning!). JB was up for it and we started to record the bass parts for the UPF album title track "Fall In Love With The World". This done and submitted, JB found out that he was unable to do the Tour due to work commitments and so Mark asked if another bass Player could be found to do the rest of the album and the tour. Guy then contacted Dan Mash (Maschine, Ex-Tangent). Dan stepped up to plate and did both album and tour!

Wind Players -
Ian RItchie (Roger Waters) was in the frame but then decided not to do the Project in order to concentrate on his own music. Marek Arnold (Seven Steps to the Green Door, Cyril, Toxic Smile and frequent Manning album contributor!) was recruited! UPF album

The Autumn tour - Summers End 2014 festival plus a whirlwind criss-cross of France and Netherlands, with little sleep but a nice stop off in Amsterdam!
The 'band' met up ahead of the festival to rehearse. The festival gig itself went reasonably well despite some technical issues.
All was well until the band came back to Calais to return to the UK.
The Border guards decided that 3 of the Aussies had no 'work permit' to play in the UK. Despite it being a promo tour where the band would earn/make no money, they refused re-entry to the UK. After some careful diplomatic negotiations by Guy (doing his best 'Suits'/'Silk' impressions), the band WAS able to return but had to cancel the remaining 3 UK Dates in order to do so...which was a bitter blow (...especially for Guy as these were his home gigs!)

After the tour, in 2015 Guy started writing a lot of new material,
Some might end up of UPF #2 "Planetary Overload" and others may be used in a brand new Project (together with Dan and Marek)...we shall have to see!!

THE END SO FAR (...of this continuing saga...)

......THEN CAME DAMANEK (See www.damanek.com)












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