Chapter One: 'From Little
Acorns... you get indigestion...'
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.
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
Two: 'Audiophilia is a dirty word...'
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.
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
(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....)
Three: 'The Wilderness Years...'
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.
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).
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...
Four: 'Hey man, pass me the nails and the 2x4...'
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...
Five: 'Ivory Towers...'
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
The "No More Travelling Chess.." project was
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).
liked to play it in the car. So onto the next album....
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.
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
Six: 'Hanging on in quiet desperation...'
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,
One in Andy & Sam's back garden to fans and friends
and a more 'lavish' production later, complete with
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
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
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,
New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue'
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
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,
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)
Eight: 'The Brave New World...'
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
Quite moody and dark, this appeals to those
with headphones and liking of late nights!!
play some LIVE dates, I put together a BAND!!!!
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
Neil Harris : Keyboards & Backing Vocals
John Hobson : Drums & Percussion
Guy Manning : Guitars, Keyboards & Vocals
Nine: '...Wishing Away Our Tomorrows...'
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
The 'Cascade' recording sessions got underway in the recording
studio [now named BURNSIDE] with Angela providing Flute
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.
guitarist Gareth Harwood (freshly back from work abroad)
joined me to provide electric guitar parts
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.
later re-released on Burnside Ed.)
was released UK September 6th 2001
01 2001 - New CD Demo work started..they say .he never
Sep 10 2001 - Rick Ashton joined on the bass to replace
Chapter Ten: 'Who's on First?'
working album title for the next CD was "The
Ragged Curtain" featuring a long 20+
minutes piece and this was assigned CYCL115 on CYCLOPS
Dec 2001, John Hobson left the band to concentrate
on work in London following our joint redundancy from
Airtours (the swines!).
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!
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!
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!
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...'
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"
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.
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
View From My Window" was
assigned catalogue number CYCL136, for release JAN
sell them mail order for some 3 months before that)
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
Tillison (Keys, Vocals) [PO90]
Sam Baine (Piano)
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]
a great pleasure and honour (and I provided Acoustic
Guitars, Mandolin & Vocals)
VIEW FROM MY WINDOW was released October 2003
TANGENT "Music That Died Alone" was released
September 22nd 2003
Chapter Twelve: 'Back To
2003 - New Album demos started for the next Project:
Matter of Life & Death (The Journal
of Abel Mann)"
(A Concept album based on the "TALL STORIES..." character)
4.The River OF Time
6.Falling Down? Rising Up!
8.Out Of My Life
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.)
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.
finally signed to ProgRock (a
US Label) to release the new album!
Release date was October 26th 2005 (PRR 138).
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.
Colossus "Spaghetti Western" Project for
which "La Voce Del Vento" (Guy & Any)
provided a 25 minute suite ("Harmonica")
was released in October 2004.
Thirteen: 'One Step Beyond...'
2005 and a new large EPIC was being written...the
8 part title track to the new album "One
Voce Del Vento' started work on BAD (Spaghetti Epic
#2) for the next Colossus Project album
Orford (ex -IQ) agreed to perform the flute parts
written for the long suite and sent over the finished
wavs to be assembled in Burnside.
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
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
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
SMALL STEP..." was
released on Oct 17 2005 by ProgRock records (PRR 139)
2. Night Voices
3. No Hiding Place
4. The Mexico Line
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
Fourteen: 'Keeping it in the family'
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
The family tree of Dr. Jonathan Anser, living in 2089 and
An Archaeologist digging in one of the last few remaining
places above water (after the Polar caps finally melted).
TREE" (PRR 270) was released in October 2006.
TANGENT "A Place In The Queue" was released
on Feb 6th 2006.
Fifteen: 'Stage antics'
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!
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
2007 as "GOING OFF ON ONE").
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!).
GUY MANNING & FRIENDS band also did the TANGENT
support slot at the Rotherham CRS (at the last minute
after the original support band cancelled).
at home, after all the excitement had died down, I
doodled with some new ideas but in a very unhurried
when I was at the Summers' End festival, I had stayed
at a hotel in the company of White Willow (a great band from
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....
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
there, that there was an album to be made!
From The Bilston House"
song was to be set within a location in the house.
No real mystery, no murder or menace, simply tales set
boundary of one particular place over many years.
following pieces went into production:
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)
'usual suspects' were rounded up to help out in its
Million - Electric guitars
Fowles - Saxes and Vocals
Dundon - Flutes
'Walter' Fairbairn - Fiddle
Tillison - Additional keyboards,
Drums and Vocals
King - Vocals
provided the 6 & 12 String Acoustic and Classical
guitars, Electric Gtr, Mandolins, Bouzouki, Keyboards,
Bass, Percussion and Vocals
by Andy Tillison / Guy Manning
LIVE Tangent album "GOING OFF ON ONE" was
released June 2007
FROM THE BILSTON HOUSE" was released October 2007
on our new label FESTIVAL MUSIC (F2)
Chapter Sixteen: 'The return
of the Studio Mole'
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
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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...
Seventeen: 'Looking back over the years...'
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!!!!
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!
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.
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!
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)
Ten was made up of 8 tracks, all different and some
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.
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
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
of excitement was to come in this 10th Anniversary
Eighteen: 'Setting sail...'
was indeed a year of ups and downs......!
"Number Ten" was released in Feb 2009 (to great reviews I am glad
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.
Catling arrived to take
over the lead guitaring for
the band and settled in very
search, for my keyboard apprentice, continued...
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")
this time, I also contributed some parts towards the new
TANGENT album "Down & Out in Paris & London" .
The album was released in Nov 2009.
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
was going to be busy with gigs, recording and the run
up to ROSFEST in May and we were all very excited about
Nineteen: 'Low hanging fruit...'
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!.
released in October 2010 and
did very,very well, being critically
well received nearly everywhere
fantastic 10/10 scores! Rosie did the front cover for us.
A lovely Roger Dean-esque image!
After a lot of searching
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.
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
Diamond was not available for the wind parts this
time around and so I searched about and found
(through ProgRock's Shawn Gordon) Marek
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
in 1933. After a competition to find the best
the part actually went to another musical friend of
Children" was released in November
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.
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!
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 !!
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!
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!!
END SO FAR (...of this continuing saga...)
......THEN CAME DAMANEK (See www.damanek.com)