La Rocca!

album - 1981

Snips

BILL:
 

Keyboards

BILL'S THOUGHTS:

"I was asked to play on the album by Snips himself, (real name Steve Parsons,) who was originally, I think, a musician from Hull who had a background with various Hull bands, including 'Throbbing Gristle' in their earliest days, (though he wasn't really involved with that music, but just a friend of Cosey Fanni Tutti's.)

The album was produced by guitarist Chris Spedding, a great player who had been a session musician on many pop singles, (including 'The Wombles' novelty hit,) but who also had a respectable jazz background.  Chris played on Jack Bruce's wonderful, 'Songs For A Tailor' album as well as on several other respected recordings.  Chris later went on to be a member of 'Sharks,' a band which also featured Snips as vocalist and who, I recall, supported Roxy Music back in the day.

I bought the Sharks album when it first came out and loved it, particularly the track 'Snakes And Swallowtails.'  That album was played in the van in the earliest days of Be Bop Deluxe when we'd be driving from Wakefield to Leeds for a gig at 'The Staging Post' pub or wherever.  Sharks also had the late Andy Fraser, (from 'Free',) on bass too. (I'd once been asked to join a 'supergroup' that Island Records were attempting to put together with Andy Fraser on Bass and ex-Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell on drums.)

Anyway, jumping forward in time, Snips asked me to play Keyboards on the album 'La Rocca.'  I was surprised by this as I'd always considered my keyboard playing to be secondary to my guitar playing but, because I'd been such a fan of Sharks' music, I agreed to do it.  I was incredibly nervous during the session, especially as Chris Spending was the producer and guitarist.  I struggled through as best I could on an instrument I'd never had to deliver on in that kind of situation.  I recall inordinate amounts of booze being consumed by both Chris and Snips during the session but I was too nervous to partake myself and desperately tried to stay focused and professional.  It was one of those, dive in, sink or swim moments.

Having said that, I think I acquitted myself reasonably well, without my guitar in hand.  Played mostly Mini-Moog as far as I recall.  A long time ago now.

I still love what Snips and Chris do."

© Bill Nelson 2019

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