Fleur de Lys, 1966

 

 

 

1966, somewhere in England. Fleur de Lys…me 2nd from left, the second English band I played with for a bit. We played mostly Motown style music. I played piano with this band. We once opened for Eddie Floyd (Knock on Wood) in London, and Brian Epstein (Manager of the Beatles who was promoting the show) dropped by our dressing room with a bottle of Champagne. “Good luck boys” he said…seemed like a nice bloke. I was very sad when he passed away so young…he seemed a tortured soul.
I first met Jimi Hendrix while we were hanging out in Eric Burdon’s kitchen in London. Chas Chandler had brought him over from the States to form a band which became the “Experience”. He overdubbed on a record we were making called “Amen” (the Impressions song) but it was never released. Mitch Mitchell later asked me to play bass in a band he was getting together…but it was 1969 and I came to the US instead. He was an amazing drummer. Phil Sawyer 2nd from right in back left to replace Stevie Winwood in the Spencer Davies band. We once played a two week residency at the London Playboy Club on Park Lane in London. It was 1966 and the James Bond Playboy thing was still going strong in England with a certain portion of the population. We played in the basement discotheque in thirty minute shifts, thirty on, thirty off doing mostly “Impressions” style music and other soul type material all through the night. Every thirty minutes we’d go eat in the staff cafeteria, which got old after about four hours. There were Bunnies everywhere…heaven for a young seventeen year old rock musician; I had some memorable moments. The roulette tables were all on the higher floors…we had the old guys dancing with their young good looking paid escorts. We’d see people like actor James Mason dancing out there sometimes.