By 1975 I had figured out which end of the guitar was which, and was ready to do something about it. I joined a London R&B group, THE ROCKETS. Dave Rochelle played the drums, Adrian Osborne (Oz, the anadin kid) played bass, and after a search we found Jimmy Coull to sing. These guys were seriously pining for 1963. I pined too. We played a lot of Bo Diddley and Merseybeat covers, five sets a night, every night, when we could. In autumn of 1976 our drummer quit and Stewart Copeland appeared. He played with us on a number of gigs until one day he told me that he was forming his own band and asked me to come and meet his singer. He said he was thinking of calling it THE POLICE. I declined joining, and we carried on looking for drummers until early in the New Year. There is a plan to release some of their recordings on a 45 single in the near future.
In 1977 I formed WARSAW PAKT with John Manly and Jimmy Coull from THE ROCKETS. Wolf Marlander played drums at first, until Lucas Fox joined a few months later. We looked for a bass player for a long time until we found Chris Underhill and played the UK circuit with bands like THE CLASH and THE DAMNED. Mim Scala got us a deal with Island Records for WARSAW PAKT to record an album 'Needletime' CTCD238 the first ever direct-to-disc rock recording. This was made at Trident Studios in London's West End, and within twenty-four hours of recording, five thousand albums were pressed and in the shops the following day. This was noted in the Guinness Book Of Records. We also released a single, 'Safe and Warm/Sick n' Tired.' WIPX1784. Right at the beginning we asked the late Mick Farren for lyrics for the band. That started a songwriting partnership that continued through to July 2013.
Next up was a German movie soundtrack, 'Du Bist Nicht Tom Sawyer', which I wrote and recorded at Korner Recorders with Bias Boschel, who was the keyboard player for the MOODY BLUES at that time. We got paid and everything was good, but restlessness continued until the American Immgration Lottery offered me a Resident Alien Card.
This brings us up to 1993 in Los Angeles USA where I met up with Mick Farren and we formed a band calling ourselves 'RESIDENT ALIENS' with Mick on vocals and me playing guitar. By the time we got a deal we had become 'LUNAR MALICE' with Jack Lancaster (Sax), Spike Baron (Bass), Tom Freeman (Drums). We recorded 'Gunfire In The Night/Touched By The Fire' for Force Majeure records F.M.-02.
In 1995 I formed FAIRYHEAD with Philthy 'Animal' Taylor from MOTORHEAD on drums and Spike Baron on bass. I played guitar and sang. I contributed a track to the live CD 'The Death Ray Tapes' with Mick Farren and Jack Lancaster, 'Gunfire In The Night' (Alive 0013)
1996 Mick had a deal with 'Alive Records' for an LP 'Eating Jello with a Heated Fork' (Alive 1022). He gave me the lyrics for the title track and I wrote it in the time it takes to play it. That doesn't happen very often. We wrote and recorded five new numbers for the CD.
Later the same year Mick Farren and the Deviants released a collection that included the first release of 'Dogpoet', the spiraling twisted psychedelic vision that was a staple of our live sets until recently. These DEVIANTS were Philthy on Drums, and I played guitar and bass. 'Fragments Of Broken Probes' CTCD046
I wrote and recorded all the songs for the horror pic DEADLOCK (2000) LEO FILMS IN 1997. It was released on DVD in 2000. Philthy provided the drums for all the tracks.
Pretty soon WAYNE KRAMER came to town and we had a blast at Dingwalls Dancehall in Camden Lock. The band, known as the MC1, had Larry Wallis on guitar, George Butler on drums, Wayne Kramer, guitar and vocal and I played bass. Captain Trip has released the full recording on 'Wayne Kramer, Live At Dingwalls' CTCD260. Several tracks from the show appear on 'Wayne Kramer and the Pink Fairies' which is available from Wayne's website.
I started to record material at SGS Studio in Camberwell. This was Larry's Dad's place. I would pick up Alan Powell, then Larry in this old van I had. We'd drive to the sessions never knowing which song we'd record. Al was planning to emigrate, so after some early sessions when we'd demo'd up Larry's tune for Status Quo, and some Farren/Colquhoun songs, we recorded Al's tune 'Jealous'. Later he gave it to Robert Palmer whose take is strikingly similar. Other sessions at SGS yielded an early 'White Girls On Amphetamine' with George Butler on drums, which was eventually re-recorded for 'Kill 'Em And Eat 'Em'.
I went on to form a number of bands. At first we were THE PAKT. After many personnel changes they finally mutated into FAMOUS SCIENTISTS in the 1980's. They were Ian Henderson: bass and vocals, Simon House: violin and keyboards, Chris North: drums, and I played guitar and sang. Previously we had gigged as TURBO with Ray Karuana on vocals and Simon King from HAWKWIND on drums. Both bands made a lot of recordings, but none have been released yet.
FAMOUS SCIENTISTS played out in London and around. We went down very well. The crunch came when Ian announced that he had gone mad on the morning of a Dingwalls showcase gig for Chappel music, who liked our demo. I bullied him into doing the gig, but it didn't work. I was sharing the stage with a ghost. Only a few months earlier, on that very stage, Ian had collapsed with laughter giving our stripper the signal to start her act during the raunchy 'I Wish I Could Dance', which was the song that Chappel were interested in. The gulf between the two personas had become obvious, even to me by the time I shuffled to the back of Dingwalls for a very large drink.
This called for a re-think. I sold a couple of silver saxophones and booked rehearsal time and gigs for BIG CITY. This band had Chris North on drums, the guitarist Larry Wallis on bass and I was on guitar and vocals. We played the Rock Garden in Covent Garden. It was a lot of fun and showed me what was possible. We had a Dingwalls gig next. I contacted Phil Brown from the RECORDS to play Bass while Larry switched back to guitar. Billed as BIG CITY this was effectively an early incarnation of 'THE LOVE PIRATES OF DOOM', or 'THE POLICE CARS', or even 'THE DONUT DUNKERS OF DEATH'. I have to admit to losing track of the band's constantly changing name. Thus it continued with frequent Dingwalls gigs courtesy of the splendid Boss Goodman whom Wallis curiously began to address as 'John'. In time the line up evolved into Larry, Sandy Sanderson on bass, George Butler on drums and me.
This brings us up to 1987 which started with an invitation to join the re-formed PINK FAIRIES. This was to be Larry Wallis on guitar and vocals, Russell Hunter on drums, Sandy Sanderson on bass and vocals, John Alder aka Twink on drums and vocals, and I was on guitar and vocals. After our celebrated Town and Country showcase, we played Dingwalls. Paul Bass from Jake Riviera's Demon Records, possibly given the nod by Dr Feelgood's Lee Btilleaux, after Larry's Christmas visit with him had led to the re-launch, offered our manager Adam Lippett a deal. Deal done we recorded at Picnic studios in the late summer. Pete Macklin was sent down to check us out at the recording studio. It turned out that he was there to pull the plug if the PINK FAIRIES appeared to be misbehaving. Meanwhile we quit working that day because nothing could be achieved while he was getting his mixes of the 'work in progress'. Golf became the strategy, to Pete's horror. Barry the producer and Spider were making these takeaway mixes for him all day, while the entire band was putting in the hallway.
On the plus side we played 'Waiting For The Ice Cream To Melt' five nights in a row seeking the feel it has on the album. This band doesn't usually play like that. What people expected from the Fairies would be the first three albums. In live shows I liked the fact that these Fairies songs would take-off for several minutes until brought down and rested, when the whole acid energy vibe would coalesce around another riff and fly again. Not a lot of this always survived intact. Some of the content had been played in the LOVE PIRATES OF DOOM. Larry's songs were always tightly structured. Mine were too. The template was Rock that leaned towards strong melodic content. When these Fairies got their teeth into numbers like 'Walk Don't Run' and 'The Snale', PINK FAIRIES flew high again. To me the one factor, apart from the material, that differentiated Fairies from Love Pirates was Russell Hunter's drums. He lifts the whole thing up. We toured in the UK and Europe and broke up in 1989. 'Kill 'Em And Eat 'Em' was released on vinyl and cd in 1987. FIENDCD105
In 1989 we formed FLYING COLOURS. Russell, Sandy and me re-trod a Pink Fairy path without the name, and after a bit of a bash, and a few reordings including 'Runnin' Outa Road' we retired gracelessly.
I had written some creepy songs. Creepy Beach, Eerie Automobile, Haunted Shoes, etc. and I ended up at Korner Recorders in West London recording Creepy Christmas. I completed it, but we really needed a 'Name' to get the publicity it would need. By chance we met SCREAMING LORD SUTCH in the Portobello Gold, and offered him the role. He came to the studio and recorded his vocal. Adrian Davidson released it on 'Invitation Party Records'. Sutch was the surprise guest on CH 4's Juke Box Jury, and Dusty Springfield voted it a hit. We made a video with Sutch and the Monster Raving Loony Party and Sutch was backed by Flying Colours for the shoot.
Meanwhile Mick Farren was recording the 'Screwed Up' EP for Stiff at Pathway in Islington where Larry Wallis was producing. Bacchanalia was both the subject and the consequence of the EP and the LP we recorded. I played bass and sang some choruses.It was released as the 'Screwed Up' EP, LAST4 on Stiff Records by MICK FARREN AND THE DEVIANTS. Track 2, 'Let's Loot the Supermarket' was later released on the Stiff Box set CD.
'Mick Farren and the Good Guys' was the live studio group assembled to promote the following LP, 'Vampires Stole My Lunch Money'. currently available on Captain Trip. It included three of my
tunes, leading to a writing deal with local publishers Acton
Green Music, who were Wayne Bardell and Doug Smith, the manager of HAWKWIND and MOTORHEAD. The line up for the gigs was Mick, Larry, Alan, Will Stallybrass on harmonica and Gary Tibbs fron The VIBRATORS on Bass, and I switched back to guitar from some of the studio bass duties. We also recorded a single at SGS for LOGO records: 'Broken Statue/All In The Picture' GO 345. 'Half Price Drinks/I Don't Wanna Go This Way' was also released as a single from the album.
In 2007 we recorded 'The Ladbroke Groove' for the promotional CD to accompany publication of 'Keep It Together' by Rich Deakin. Headpress .
In 2008 we revisited the very first song that Mick had originally sent me via John Manly in 1977. This was 'Lost Johnny. I remember it from WARSAW PAKT in the Bunker at Portobello Road. This time we bashed out a version without the triplet feel that had previously characterised the tune. Now I had it in a straight 4/4 tempo. It so happened that Philthy had been called in to replace the drums on the first MOTORHEAD Album. 'Lost Johnny' was the one track he hadn't had to tackle, so he was totally up for a re-interpretation. This track is on the MOTORHEAD tribute CD MHB002
Next up was TANZ DER YOUTH. Brian James, the Damned's guitarist had formed a psychedelic-punk group that toured the UK supporting Black Sabbath in 1979. A Radar single and John Peel show are the recordings that remain. We were, Alan Powell from HAWKWIND on drums, Tony Moore on keyboards, Brian James guitar and vocals, and I played bass and sang. We released 'I'm Sorry/Delay' on RADAR ADA19, and broke up
2002 The Deviants recorded 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' on the CD 'HE'S A REBEL: THE GENE PITNEY STORY RETOLD, PIG-7. The Deviant recordists on this were Mick, Michael Simmons and me.
2003 saw the release of the compilation 'People Call You Crazy', the story of Mick Farren on Sanctuary CMQCD731
In 2004 The DR CROW album is re-mastered with the addition of the mesmerizing 'Strawberry Fields Forever', sweetened with a harmony sung by Johnette Napolitano from CONCRETE BLONDE. 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' is also added to CTCD-488
In 2005 PINK FAIRIES 'Chinese Cowboys' CTCD 527 was released, re-mastered from live recordings at Leeds and Long Marston on the "Kill 'Em And Eat 'Em" tour 1987
In 1998 I wrote 'Lennon Song' for the E!TV's 'True Hollywood Story'-John Lennon episode. This was also released on my solo CD 'Pick Up The Phone America, in 2001
In 1999 'The Deviants Have Left The Planet' CTCD 163 was released by Captain Trip Records. Six of the tracks were brand new originals, including the first recording of 'Aztec Calendar'. The other tracks were selected live performances from both Terrastock festivals where we played with Adrian Shaw (bass) and Andy Ward (drums) from Nick Saloman's fabulous BEVIS FROND, plus a re-issue of the live 'Gunfire in the Night' from 'The Deathray Tapes', and 'Let's Loot The Supermarket' from the Stiff 'Screwed Up' EP.
The band flew to Japan to promote the CD. The concerts appear on the 'Barbarian Princes' CTCD 189. These DEVIANTS were Ric Parnell (drums) Doug Lunn (bass) Mick Farren (Vocals) and Andy Colquhoun (guitar).
In 2000 I got some re-mastering software and a record deck and made a CD version of 'Needletime' by WARSAW PAKT. I included all the material that was ever released, plus previously unheard demo material. This was all on Captain Trip records CTCD 238.
Later that year I found a tape of the WAYNE KRAMER at Dingwalls gig and re-mastered it for CD release on the Captain Trip label, CTCD 260.
Some of the gig is released on 'Total Energy' NER 3028 as Wayne Kramer and the Pink Fairies.
Ever since I had been in Los Angeles I had been working with Phil Taylor from MOTORHEAD. First he bought a 'Session 8' hard disk recording system that was in fact the precursor to Pro-Tools, still the industry standard for hard disk recording today. He also played an electronic drum kit, so between his studio and mine, where I had a Tascam TSR8 1/2" reel to reel, Cakewalk for Windows 3.1 and Emagic Logic 4, I started to assemble the tracks that made up my first solo CD release, 'Pick Up The Phone America'. Some early versions of these songs were unexpectedly released on SON OF HAM UHCK 002 and HOGWATCH UHCK 003 in 2000. 'Nevah Surrender' on 'Son Of Ham' was Philthy and me as FAIRYHEAD and is the only release of that title.
There were tracks from 'FLYING COLOURS' rehearsals, and demos of several Farren/Colquhoun numbers, and other odds and ends. To my considerable surprise the CDs contained 16 of my performances and songs! No complaints here.
In 2001 Captain Trip released my first solo record 'Pick Up The Phone America' CTCD 292. Philthy played the drums on four of the tracks. Mick added a voice-over, as did Helga, and there is one 'Flying Colours' track with Russell on drums and Sandy on bass and vocals.
2002 Track Records released DR CROW TRK 1020CD. This line up was Mick Farren vocals, Doug Lunn bass, Ric Parnell drums, Jack Lancaster saxophone, Johnette Napolitano vocal, Michael Simmons vocal, Carol Phillips and Blare N' Bitch vocals, Phil Taylor drums. I played guitar and mixed the sessions.
In 2000 I contributed to a couple of tracks on the Mark Breyer 'SKOOSHNY' CDMZR-4 MINUS ZERO RECORDS
Videos of the various projects are starting to be posted
on the HOME page.
'A STUNNING MUSICAL EXPERIENCE IN THE SAME WAY AS VINTAGE PATTI OR EVEN EARLY DYLAN" (ALTERNATIVE PRESS)
"EATING JELLO WITH A HEATED FORK IS LIKE THE FUGS AND THE SEX PISTOPS JAMMING AT THE APOCALYPSE" (BAM)
"CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED GUITARIST COLQUHOUN COJURES UP CRAFTY PSYCHELIC METAL" (L.A. WEEKLY '98)
"COLQUHOUN RANKS AS ONE OF THE TRULY WILD GUITARISTS TO GRACE THIS THING CALLED ROCK N' ROLL" (CHRIS S. BLACK TO COM)
And this brings us up to 2009 when the DEVIANTS completed 'Baby Pink' for a Boss Goodman CD released in November 2010
Throughout 2010 I wrote and recorded the tracks for my second solo CD, STRING THEORY. This is an all-instrumental, 73 minute long mixture of original tunes and standards. David Ito plays bass on five of the cuts, and Philthy 'Animal' Taylor is the drummer on the version of 'River Deep. Mountain High'. This CD is to be released by GONZO MULTIMEDIA early in 2014 with a bonus DVD containing the 12 videos I made to promote the original release.
I have been living in Brighton UK since April 2011 and I was playing gigs with Mick Farren, Russell Hunter, Sandy Sanderson and Jaki Windmill as the Deviants. Tim Rundall also played with us for a while. There are some videos of these shows to be posted on this website. In particular a version of 'Taste The Blue' from Dr. Crow at the Glastonbury Fayre festival in 2011 is on the home page.
We have all been shocked and saddened by Mick's death on stage at the Borderline in London on July 27th this year, 2013.
Rest In Peace old friend.
The Black Vinyl Dress is his final original CD release, and is obtainable from GONZO MULTIMEDIA
In June/July 2013 Shagrat Records released a vinyl 45 single 'Fury Of The Mob/A Better Day Is Coming,
GONZO HST422CD and DVD
Mick Farren had moved to New York City by this time. He would play a gig at Dingwalls when he was in town. Here he is performing with the 'Love Pirates Of Doom' in about 1984. The pic left to right shows Larry, Mick, George Butler on drums (hidden), Sandy and Andy.
Re-released in August 2014, STRING THEORY has 7 bonus cuts and a DVD.