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Riot Squad feature in Record Collector

 
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lunamagic
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 17 Jan - 07:45 (2013)    Sujet du message: Riot Squad feature in Record Collector Répondre en citant





16 January 2013

Riot Squad feature in Record Collector

“We are The Riot Squad and we're coming to town...”

The January issue (410) of Record Collector magazine has an in-depth feature by Ian Shirley regarding Mod sensations, The Riot Squad, punningly entitled The Riot Stuff.

As you may know, David Bowie fronted the band for a brief period in 1967 and while on-board he recorded demos and gigged with them in and around the London area.

The history of The Riot Squad has been largely undocumented in Bowie biographies, but they were an important chapter in his story for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, they were among the very first groups to wear make-up onstage (as evidenced by our exclusive picture), and they also have the very hip claim on being the first band to play a Velvet Underground cover version, even before the band's debut was released.

David had insisted on including ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ in the band's live set along with the ‘Venus In Furs’ inspired ‘Little Toy Soldier’, even recording studio versions of both tracks with the band, neither of which have ever had an official release.

Here's an excerpt from Ian Shirley's piece picking up where Bowie joined:


In early March 1967, the band divided, with Gladstone, Crisp and Clifford going off to form soul band Pepper. Evans retained The Riot Squad name, along with Butch and Del. He was quick to recruit Rod Davies (guitar), Croak Prebble (bass) and a new lead singer.

Evans recalls: “I saw David Bowie with The Buzz at the Marquee and thought that he was fantastic. I approached him and he agreed to join.” Though Bowie had a growing reputation in London, like the Riot Squad he lacked a hit record.

Butch was underwhelmed when Evans informed him he’d offered the future Ziggy Stardust the job: “I thought, ‘Oh no, I don’t like him.’ We had supported Bowie months earlier. His presentation was superb, but his material was terrible.” Saying that, when Bowie turned up for their first rehearsal in a Tottenham pub, Butch admits he “fell in love with him because he had such charisma and he looked so cool when he walked in”.

The band had a few days to work up a set-list before their next gig and Bowie took charge in helping to knit together a running order. He even brought in a track from an unreleased LP by a US band called The Velvet Underground, I’m Waiting For The Man.

Butch recalls that, although The Riot Squad set had pop and soul roots, they were open to diverse material such as the Bowie-penned Little Toy Soldier. Bowie also pushed the band to be more theatrical. “He told me, ‘Why don’t you put paint on your face, Butch?’ We became more outrageous. Bob started throwing rags into the audience.

“Bob Evans loved it when Bowie came along,” recalls Butch, “because he was out front with the sax and flute and with tracks like The Vicar’s Daughter we got a bit more like The Bonzo Dog Band. When Bowie came in he had great ideas like Toy Soldier, where he’d whip Bob on stage. They got on like a house on fire because they were both great front men.”

Bowie led the band for around 20 gigs, between March and May 1967, before handing in his notice to go solo again.

“We were serious with David,” recalls Evans. “His material commanded respect, and while I wasn’t exactly hankering to loon about, I’m Waiting For The Man and Toy Soldier pointed that way. I can’t remember when we first chucked rags into the audience, that was post-David, but I enjoyed doing that stuff – all of which would develop at a pace soon after.”


It's fascinating reading and the story continues in the current edition of Record Collector.

The magazine has kindly given us two exclusive and previously unpublished images of David in make-up from a Riot Squad photo session. Check out David Bowie (Official) on Facebook for an alternative shot to the one here.

Record Collector is also releasing a limited edition Riot Squad album on 180gm vinyl. Though Bowie isn't on it, the record does include a version of his song ‘Little Toy Soldier’ recorded after he had left the band in 1968.

The album is limited to 750 copies and it will be available from the Record Collector shop at the end of the month.

davidbowie.com


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MessagePosté le: Ven 18 Jan - 08:43 (2013)    Sujet du message: Riot Squad feature in Record Collector Répondre en citant







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MessagePosté le: Ven 18 Jan - 08:43 (2013)    Sujet du message: Shindig Magazine Has Riot Squad Feature Répondre en citant





21 October 2007

Shindig Magazine Has Riot Squad Feature

Until tomorrow but that's just another time...

Shindig #7 has a 3-page feature regarding David Bowie's brief daliance with The Riot Squad in the spring of 1967. But, despite a teaser on the front cover proclaiming: "DAVID BOWIE & THE RIOT SQUAD New Unseen photos!", there certainly aren't any new unseen photos of David Bowie.

In fact, they've used a low quality version of the same pic (see Bowie-hiighlighted version above) that seems to be the only shot of Bowie with The Riot Squad in existence.

However, it's still an engaging read that does a good job of untangling the Riot Squad's confusing history...little of which had anything to do with David Bowie. Nevertheless, they've made a good fist of the Bowie-related section, from which these excerpts...

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On 13th April 1967, Bowie played a live show, at the trendy London club Tiles on Oxford Street, backed by east London group The Riot Squad. The 12 weeks that Bowie spent as a member of The Riot Squad are not well documented but provide a fascinating insight into the '67 period Bowie and the musical directions he subsequently took.

While it's common knowledge among Bowie fans that he featured The Velvet Underground's 'Waiting For My Man' (sic) in his early '70s live shows and tirelessly championed them as a major influence on his work, it's much less well known that he had recorded the track with The Riot Squad as early as 1967.

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"...it's much less well known" unless you read the BowieNet news pages that is. (12.09.2006 NEWS: VELVETS ACETATE MOST EXPENSIVE RECORD OF ALL TIME) And the song title is: I'm Waiting For The Man, actually, though Bowie dropped the I'm. Anyway, back to the article, with a bit of pre-Bowie Riot Squad history...

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The Riot Squad then effectively split into two different bands, the first as The Stewart James Inspiration; while Derek Roll, Butch Davis and Bob Evans continued with The Riot Squad as a straight ahead rock/pop act. Bob Evans began the search for a new vocalist and chanced upon David Bowie in London's West End, who accepted his offer. The new line-up was completed by Croke Prebble on bass and Rod Davies on guitar. Keyboard player George Butcher remembers that neither Bowie nor The Riot Squad cared for the popular soul-orientated club acts like Geno Washington, so moving towards a more progressive sound was agreeable to both. Bowie at this time was still living in Beckenham, just south of London, but immediately moved in with Bob Evans in Leytonstone, east London.

Their first rehearsal took place at The Swan pub in Tottenham. Riot Squad organist George Butcher recalls Bowie arriving wearing flares and with his hair longer than the mod cut he'd sported with The Buzz. Bowie insisted that if he were to become the vocalist, the choice of tracks would be his. His choice was a mixture of original compositions, such as 'Little Toy Soldier', 'Silly Boy Blu'e and 'Silver Tree Top School For Boys', and covers, including Frank Zappa's 'It Can't Happen Here' as well as tracks by The Velvet Underground and The Fugs.

Bowie's engagement happened to coincide with his brief dalliance with mime and make-up and this experimentation evidently manifested itself in The Riot Squad's stage act as local rag The Walthamstow Independent reported in a review of a Bowie/Riot Squad live show:

"The crack of a whip breaks through the sound of loud, erratic music. Teenagers, dancing in a frenzy, gaze towards the music makers to see a lean, coconut-haired youth being whipped. A bizarre orgy? No, just a scene from Waltham Forest's Riot Squad's stage performance."

The Independent continues:

"And flowers play more than a large part in the act. For, as the new leader in the group Bob Evans explained, not only is most of their clothing floral, but they also dress up as flowers and their instruments have been converted into flowers. It is only compara-tively recently that the group has adopted this way-out, psychedelic approach to pop music and, as a result of the conversion, offers from all over the world have come flooding in. So much so that the group has had to turn down an offer of a tour in Venezuela."

Bowie's tenure as front man for The Riot Squad lasted only from April to June 1967, during which time Bowie's star was temporarily in the ascent. Both his solo single The Laughing Gnome' and his eponymous debut album were released while he was a member of the band.

Maybe it's because the attention of writers and archivists has always been focused on these formative Deram releases that Bowie's tentative venture into the recording studio with The Riot Squad has gone largely unnoticed.

This lone session took place late one evening in April 1967 at Decca's West Hampstead studio with staff engineer Gus Dudgeon on production duties. Gus had the keys to the studios and recorded many bands without Decca's knowledge, usually working late into the night when he was less likely to be disturbed or caught. George Butcher remembers a number of tracks being recorded that night but only two have ever surfaced; a cover of the The Velvet Undergound's 'Waiting For My Man' and the Bowie original 'Little Toy Soldier'.

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The article goes on to describe Waiting For The Man and Little Toy Soldier in some detail and then continues thus...

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There was also one further track on the tape, an instrumental version of 'Silly Boy Blue' which one can only assume was also recorded with The Riot Squad at the same session. It has also been reported that a version of 'Silver Tree Top School For Boys' was recorded at that session, although it's existence has still to be confirmed. Bowie's own demo of the song, dating from around the time of his Riot Squad membership, has appeared on several bootlegs but The Riot Squad's involvement seems very unlikely.

Bowie left The Riot Squad some time in June 1967, no doubt empowered by the release of his debut album earlier that month. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Inded it is. It's still worth picking up a copy of Shindig #7, as much of what I have edited out still deserves to be read. You can order a copy online here, or by clicking on David's rioting head above.

davidbowie.com


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