Roy Weard - A Musical History part III

Born Free - WOODEN LION

When 'Grope' split Johnny Lyons and I decided to start a new band and, after looking at various names decided on Wooden Lion - mostly because, while we were dithering about what to call it, people kept saying, 'Have you heard Wood and Lyons new band yet?'. The precursor to That Legendary Wooden Lion was born. At the time we were a five piece and the line up was : John Phillips, vocals / Roy Wood, lead & slide guitar, vocals / Johnny Lyons, bass guitar / Gareth Kiddier, 12 string acoustic & electric guitar / Wal Mansfield, drums. This band played many gigs in the East London area.

The last two pictures below were taken in a recording studion in Hitchin. Looking back on it I think it was a ploy by the studion but they offered a day's recording in the studion for a set fee and the tapes would alll be entered into a competition for a contract. We did not get it and I never actually heard if anyone got a deal from it but we did put down a few tracks. Most of which will stay firmly locked in the 'vaults' at Castle 'Coeur de Lion'. The reason we all look so wiped out was that we took the sensible precaution of going to an all night party the night before and had no sleep!

A shift in the line up brought in Alan Essex on Synthesizers and John Phillips, John Lyons and Gareth Kiddier left over a protracted period.

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This led us to Tony and Terry Morley on guitar and bass and this was the really fruitful period of the band's existence. We played many of the free festivals, including the famous Windsor Free Festival in 1974 and Watchfield Free Festival in 1975. Recently our old roadie of the time, Tom Barratt, sent us a clipping from the Stratford Express which I had not seen for years. You can see this as a Adobe Acrobat document here with the text as a Word file here. In some way we pre-empted the punk concept of adopting silly names. The backstage pass for Watchfield shows the band names as The Captain(Roy), The Cardinal Biggles(Alan) The Mad Molecule (Tony), Wal Blimey Yeah with only Terry keeping his original name.  We also did a regular spot at the Greyhound in the Fulham Palace Rd and the Cafe Des Artistes in Chelsea.. I had been a friend of Lemmy's for some time and he had been along to see the band play a few times. When Hawkwind lost its first synthesizer player he tried to get Alan to join. Alan played with Hawkwind at the Watchfield festival and at the Sundown, Edmonton, but, in the end did not join the band. The line

The first three pictures below were taken at an Open Air gig in Basingstoke that we did with the Thor/Nova Mob. The newspaper clipping is especially wonderful. The line up was Rob Dee - Bass, Colin Keeble - gtr, Tony Morley - gtr, Alan Essex - synth, Wal Mansefield - drums, Roy Wood - vocals (Thanks to Phil Crabbe for the photos)

The next seven pictures were taken at another open air gig on a green area surrounded by houses. We didn't get complaints about the noise this time (but then we didn't have the HHB PA system at that gig). Towards the end of the show, during 'The Haunter Of The Dark' we used to let off smoke bombs and a 'maroon' (loud explosion) and someone in the houses must have heard this and seen the smoke because, as the last chords died away, The Fire Brigade arrived!

The line up was Steve Audley -Bass, Jim McGrother -gtr, Alan Essex-synths, Wal Mansefield - drums, Roy Wood - vocals

The last photos were taken at an Open Air Show in Woolwich Park at some point in 1974. They feature the first appearance of the inflatable tube that later saw service with Dogwatch.

Musicians were :\Terry Morley - Bass, Tony Morley - Guitar, Wal Mansefield - Drums,Cardinal Biggles - Synthesiser, Roy Weard vocals.

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At the time of the first pictures in the above sequence we had been doing a series of gigs with a unit which variously went under the name of Thor or The Nova Mob. We did a show in a Park in Basingstoke and there was a PA system provided . This freed up the motley collection of WEM colums and amps that we had previously used as a PA so the cardinal decided to 'go quad' and place them as a four way surround system in the audience. In those days no one bothered to put microphones on the instruments but The cardinal's glorious noise issued forth from four speakers. The result was this.

This takes us up to 1976. The band had come to something of an impasse with a couple of members leaving and no real success on the cards. I wound up going out on tour with the Rolling Stones to deal with the merchandising and that became a regular job - if travelling around Europe with a rock band selling t-shirts could be construed as a regular job. After two years of this I found myself in Scandinavia doing the merchandise for  band who I shall not name. This, incidentally, was where I shaved off the beard - in a tour bus - in Sweden - in a blizzard! I stood at the side of the stage and thought 'my band was better than this' so I came back to the UK and started looking into a new band. I made a start with a band called Flashpoint which only did a couple of gigs and then I got the offer to join Dogwatch. This was a whole new world and it was the point where I decided I had to change my stage name to Roy Weard. So now we move on....