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RHINO Bass Player Interview

 

Speaker
Hi Rhino, what was your first band?

RHINO
My first band was the quaintly named “Maniac Mouse”, after I’d been in bands with friends of mine, and my Dad saw an advert for a “bass guitarist” as he put it. Then, there was an audition at the local scout, which I went along and got the job, which was amazing as it was the first time I played the bass. I found out later on that I was the only one that turned up!
And, basically, I was about 17 and they were about 14 and at the end of rehearsing, they’d say “oh, John, could you go and do something over there?” in the corner of the rehearsing room. And I went for it every time. And all of a sudden, there’d be about 30 foot balls being kicked as hard as they could at me… what bastards they were!
I was never allowed to sit in the front of the van. But, I bumped into the drummer funnily a few years ago, and he said to me they always actually secretly thought I was really, really good.
So, anyway, from then, I went on playing pubs, working men’s clubs, to the grey people, and just doing whatever came about. Until I was at a party and I met Mike Paxman, who I knew really well. And they just got the money together to put a band together with Judie and we were both a bit… three sheets to the wind… and he said to me “if you can remember my number – which, by the way folks, was 9405-196 – you’ve got the job!” And I’m very good at remembering phone numbers, but Michael was not aware of that. So, I phoned him up and said “Hello, it’s your new bass guitarist”. And it all went on from there. And I stayed with Judie and I had, on and off, 6 fantastic years. I still regard that as some of the best music I’ve ever done in my life, with great musicians, great friends and a great band. In fact, I’m doing this interview now at Judie Tzuke’s house. So, there.

Speaker
Yes, the pink house of Judie Tzuke and Big Ocean studios. Tell me a little bit about Dexys Midnight Runners.

RHINO
Dexys was amazing. I’d got an appointment to see someone at a record company and, being me, I realised I’d left the cassette at home. As I got in, the phone was ringing and it was someone from Dexys Midnight Runners, to say that I had been recommended and they needed a bass guitarist, and would I go down to audition that afternoon! So, I basically joined them about 10 minutes after I’d got there.
They showed me a song and I played it and I thought I’d put a couple of licks in, you know. And they said “what you’re doing that for? What are you putting all those funny bits in for? Just play the song!” “Oh, ok, alright then!” So, I played this song and that was amazing. That was just superb time, again. I mean, I’ve been very fortunate. We did 2 or 3 American tours, funnily enough, which were better attended before “Come on Eileen” got to number 1. That was quite a strange thing! On one of these tours, I saw the best show I’ve ever seen, which was James Brown at the Beacon Theatre, New York City.

Speaker
I hear you wrote a song for Man United?

RHINO
I wrote a song for Man United, yes. David Walker was quite instrumental in that. Our manager got in touch with us to say that he’d done a deal with Man United for their players to record one of our songs called “Burning Bridges”, which we had to rewrite the lyrics for by the next day, which was done. And then, we recorded the back track, with, should we say… how can I put it... with some “guide vocals” for the players. And then, we went up to Manchester and they came in after training, and did their “looking at the camera and holding the words” thing, trying to sing. But that was quite all inspiring actually, because I’m quite a Man United fan. As they all walked in, you know, Peter Schmeichel,  Michael walked in “hello mate, how you doing?” Roy Keane, who looked like a garden gnome – although I wouldn’t tell him that to his face. Denis Irwin… Anyway, they were loads. And they had a great time, number one for 3 weeks.

Speaker
Number one for 3 weeks, and recorded at Big Ocean where we’re talking today. Tell me, Rhino, a little bit about Status Quo.

RHINO
I’ve been in Status Quo for 26 years this year. 26 really fun-filled years.

Speaker
Fun-filled years with Status Quo. Tell me Rhino, are you deaf yet?

RHINO
Am I deaf yet? What? No, I’m not, but I’m not very good. But, that’s another part of my legacy from Judie Tzuke: Jeff Rich - thank you Jeff, the drummer.

Speaker
Rhino, when did you come to Bermuda? I think it was somewhere in the mid 80s, I do believe.

RHINO
I first came to Bermuda in 1984 with a band called the Climax Blues Band, who were, if you will, legendary one-hit wonders, they had a song called “Couldn’t get it right”. And this gig came up in Bermuda, and it was at a place called the “Clayhouse Inn”. And there was a chap there by the name of Mister Choy Aming. And, I always remember, because there was a local band supporting us and then he’d come on and go “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s star time!” And we would saunter onto the stage. And I had a really good time. We were there for about 5-6 days, so as you could imagine, I did all the island, but the beaches were nice, the people were very friendly. And, then, I met Tony Brannon there – the Judie Tzuke connection again, but I met Tony and he had a club called the “40 Thieves” in Hamilton. And, he said “well, I’d like to get a band together and go and play there for a month”. Which I did, Judie did.

Speaker
Judie did indeed and, of course, that would be me, Tony Brannon, that’s speaking to you now. Rhino, tell me a little bit more about what happened when you were in Bermuda, and about the whole Live Aid thing.

RHINO
During that residency at the “40 Thieves”, Live Aid came along. It was organised very quickly and, two of the guys in my band were required by the Boomtown Rats, I think, and Duran Duran respectively… No, it was the Boomtown Rats and Queen! And, Jim Beach, who was a total gentleman, and Queen’s manager flew the two guys back for me and flew me out to Bermuda for a couple of weeks, which was a really, really lovely thing to do. So I made loads of money.
Who were they? Yeah, there was Spike Edney who was Queen’s keyboard player and Andy Hamilton who is still a regular on the circuit, with George Michael, Duran Duran. In fact, I’m doing a gig with him in a pub in a couple of weeks’ time.

Speaker
What do you like about Bermuda, Rhino?

RHINO
I like the fact that it was really just very laidback and still very British, I suppose. Everyone seems to get on really well. Very laidback. I felt sorry for the amount of tree frogs that I would see dead in the road everyday. I liked the food, fish was amazing.

Speaker
Fish is amazing in Bermuda, that’s one of the things I think Bermuda is famous for. Tell me, Rhino, why did you record “Come Together”?

RHINO
A/ I got asked to, and B/ I mean, “Abbey Road” is one of my favourite albums. For me, “Revolver” and “Abbey Road” are my two favourite Beatles’ albums, so anything off that would have been great. And, in fact, that was probably the only song that my voice… should we say… suits, as my voice could be considered an acquired taste.

Speaker
How important were the Beatles to you, Rhino?

RHINO
The Beatles are the soundtrack to my childhood, really. Along with a lot of other 60s music, but it was always the Beatles’ records that you waited for. You know, I have memories of where I heard records, big time. And, I remember with my first girlfriend, hearing “Revolution” for the first time, that was just a mind-blowing experience for me. Listening to the record, I meant, ah, ah. But, no, yeah, Lennon’s amazing. How anybody could write a song like “I am the Walrus” is beyond me! I mean, I wish I could write a song like that. And, the lyrics to “Come Together”.
(“Come Together” plays until end of recording)

 

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Francis Rossi aka Frame or the Gomor Rick Parfitt aka The Womor Alan Lancaster aka "Nuff" John Coghlan aka "Spud" Roy Lynes Andrew Bown Pete Kircher Matt Letley John "Rhino" Edwards Jeff Rich Bob Young Leon Cave the new boy 2013 Paul Hirsh