This page will be dedicated to exposing the full and horrible history of Guy Manning's "Musical career".
For Other Band Member Biographies please < click here
Bands/topics to be discussed are as follows :
A LIFE IN MUSIC
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND DISK-DRIVE (G F & DD)
PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES (PO90)
MANNING THE BAND
BACK TO THE FUTURE
ONE STEP BEYOND...
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
THE STUDIO MOLE
LOOKING BACK OVER THE YEARS
The urge to 'get up there' started
young, my Grandfather had always said that "I had been vaccinated with
a Gramophone Needle" and that "I was a good turn, but on too long". He
had always been able to pick up and play almost any instrument.
Growing up, I was never really introduced formally to music (There was
never any in the house) but, I had the usual recorder and piano
lessons (I used to hide outside my piano teachers house until
I was discovered ...anything was better than doing duets with my younger
brother, Richard) and I would never ever practice. At primary school, I
formed my first band, Freddie & the Frogs, who would sport flippers
and goggles whist singing "We all live in a Yellow Frogmobile..." in
the playground. Unfortunately, fame remained elusive.
At about the age of 12/13, I was part of a gang of lads that 'hung out' together. One of these lads, Stevie, had an older brother and to us "young 'uns", he was a God! Mickie Pearson had at least 30 LPs, these were all ordered away in plastic LP cases. To be invited to listen to an LP, up in Mickie's room was an honour.. and though it only happened twice, I can still remember hearing my first Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and ELP albums there. My pal, Ian, had all the Wishbone Ash LPs, and we listened to them all the time. When Ash played the Leeds Town Hall in 1972, I got to go to my first Rock concert. We didn't know what to do, so we ended up 'head banging' along with everybody else there. I only had a Mono Dansette to play my three LPs on. (2 Lindisfarnes and an Alice Cooper) and LPs cost lots of money! I vividly recall Ian and I having to walk home from town, because I couldn't afford to both buy "School's Out" (with the original paper knickers on..) and have bus fare. Ian could play a little guitar, and I'd inherited my grandfathers Banjo and a beat up cheap classical six string. I taught myself some chords and we jammed Ash and Cooper tracks together.
At Grammar School, I was further introduced to "Rock" music by my long suffering best friend Simon Baskind (more of whom later). He had a drum kit, played in a band and had many more LPs than Mickie P! He loved Zappa, Beefheart, Led Zeppelin and most of all, Jethro Tull, and he played "Thick as a Brick" at me until I 'got the point'. I bought Aqualung and Genesis Live and have never looked back since.Simon and another sixth former Chris Reed (of Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry fame) were playing in a very amateur band called ACROMASIA (colour blindness?). I volunteered my services as lead vocalist. They argued, discussed it and finally decided to enrol my Shure Microphone & 100 Watt PA system ... oh, and so they had to take me to go with it. We rehearsed in badly lit, freezing cold cellars in Leeds suburbs, playing covers by Free, The Groundhogs, Pink Fairies and a Wishbone Ash number ... and a few embryonic in house efforts. We organised a local support gig, printed ACROMASIA tee shirts, presented ourselves at the Church Hall to be turned away, because, the vicar thought he was getting a classical quartet. Fame remained elusive... When ACROMASIA disbanded, I hunted about for my next line-up.
The call of the wild came and I moved out
to Todmorden in the Pennines. This was at times, paradise, boring as
hell, eccentric, foolhardy... depended on the Season. Todmorden
(roughly German for 'dead body' ... should have guessed really).
Still... I started demoing on a Teac Portastudio in my sound-proofed basement and waited for the big break. Simon B. was now in a new Leeds band 'Errors Under Pressure'. I heard the demos and wondered if I could join. I did and true to form very soon afterwards, the band gave up the ghost. Simon and I got tickets to the WOMAD of '82 and set off South to join our friends at Shepton Mallet. Luckily, Simon knew the organisers and we ended up in the 'Burundi Drummers' entourage. Peter Gabriel popped in to say hello, on occasions too. The Burundis were superb and in the magnificent carnival atmosphere, sitting on a grassy knoll (between the Tie Dye tent, the transcendental meditation sessions, the 'Make a Bong' Club and Annette Peacock in the Jazz tent), we decided on our return to form the definitive Leeds band... LET'S EAT. We set up our gear in the local Centre for the Deaf (in the hope that we wouldn't be thrown out by any critic). The initial line up was Simon (drums) , Myself (guitar/vocals), William Tanner (bass) and Anthony Marks (Keyboards and wiggle). We put together a set of incomprehensible songs in an '80s style and went off to make our fortune. We were entered into a 'Battle of the Bands' and got through to the final! At the leading Rock venue of the North (Halifax Town Hall), we strutted our stuff to an awed five people, two hacks, one cat and a potential 'John Peel' (the man never turned up... if he had, he wouldn't have been playing the Fall for the last twenty years... Yes, folks, there were bigger noises in the World). Anyhow, we lost... or should I say came second to a very talented bunch of lads... THE WORD (Featuring Jon Binns on drums!!!...see later for his entry into the story). Fame, for them, has remained elusive... We went through a number of line-ups, replacing everyone but me. We even had a budgie playing at one point (on bell). LET'S EAT gave way to the infinitely more successful BAILEY'S RETURN. This line-up (Me, William and the Portastudio) broke up when the Teac went solo. The next BAILEY'S RETURN featured Jonathan Barrett (more of whom later) and a strange Italian called Roberto. We had a drum machine. We had talent. What we didn't have was an audience. Fame remained elusive... Sensibly, Jonathan teamed up with his old mucker Jason Feddy to form the tasteful Officer Dibble whilst I...
KING GLASS couldn't survive its
membership. After the Warehouse gig and a spate of cut down less
theatrical dates, the band folded. We had just finished a BBC session,
which we were producing in a local Leeds Studio.
This studio, was the domain of one Andy Tillison, whose name now appears and who will be with us up to the end of this tale. Andy had dominated the Leeds scene in a number of influential bands, New Opera and at the time we became acquainted GOLD, FRANKINCENSE & DISK-DRIVE (G,F&DD), the first line-up of which, included my old amigo, Jonathan Barrett. Andy and I had 'worked' together on a paying demo at Lion Studios before, but struck up a mutual appreciation society during the KING GLASS sessions. When KING GLASS died, I approached Andy with regard to helping me do a Solo project. As it turned out, I joined G,F&DD just before he decided to reduce its ranks and concentrate on recording work. So, G,F&DD became Andy and me. We pooled our equipment resources, installed ourselves on the top floor of the Leeds College of Technology (Andy lectures here, so our gear became the Audio Course!), and started into writing. As a first idea and to get us into it, Andy played me some Van Der Graaf Generator cover versions he'd assembled. These sounded good! We decided our first joint effort would include a side of VDGG/Peter Hammill compositions and a side of original G,F & DD pieces. The "No More Travelling Chess.." project was born.
We contacted the ex members of VDGG, went for a lovely day trip to see Peter Hammill at Crescent studios in Bath, got consent, lyrics for one most obscure song and his support. Andy, had been in contact with VDGG Keyboards man Hugh Banton for some years (having been at the same school) and when we outlined our plans, he agreed to play on some future pieces. Excellent! We released the album on Mail Order only cassettes (though there are now plans to remaster and re-release on CD)Hammill, apparently, liked to play it in the car. So onto the next album.... We enrolled Jonathan Barrett and Andy's old New Opera sticksman Dave Albone and we wrote and worked on what was to become GFDDs last work "It's not the end of the World....but you can see it from here" (On which Hugh B. plays). I love this album, though it has only been heard by few. It took a year of effort to create it and by the time it was finished, Andy was ready for something new. Our personal lives had been chaotic throughout the recordings and circumstances dictated that a change of direction was needed for both of us
We thought about forming a Progressive
Covers band and, to this end, set out to reproduce and perform Pink
Floyds' "Dark Side of The Moon". The line-up was completed by Sam
Baine (Andy's Lady) and a powerful PC. There were only 2 performances,
but both were great. One in Andy's back garden to fans and friends and
a more 'lavish' production later, complete with costly effects such as
a balsawood plane travelling across the stage, propelled by a sparkler
cellotaped to its tail... and... two inflatable Pink Pig party
balloons. However, I knew that this was just a phase, and that Andy
would form another 'proper' line-up eventually. Andy decided to take a
break from music for a while, and then bounced back with the
innovative PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES (PO90) line-up.
This band would stick to its principals and play Progressive Rock (but
in a nineties style) as this genre, long derided, was now making a
comeback. Andy and Sam, composed and performed in an ambient project
(Sanctum) first and then settled happily into PO90. Jonathan Barrett
rejoined them on bass and guitarist Graham Young completed the band.
And Me? Well, I set up studio at home and started putting together a
list of songs for my long overdue solo project. Fame was just waiting
around the next corner...
asked Andy to
help me out on keyboards/co-production, Jonathan to provide the bass
(in the way that only he can) and, at long last, I got Simon to get
his Drums out again... well at least for percussive Cymbals and
Brushes parts. The work was to be called "Tall Stories for Small
Children" (The title having been around since FOXTROT days!). The
pieces were to be drawn from a long long list dating way back to
school. They were to be re-arranged and form a narrative based set of
songs and suites. The CD artwork was provided by my children, pictures
to go along with all the songs, in a sort of story book format. The
album took about eight months to complete and I think it has turned
out very well. It has been bought by a discerning minority so far!
CYCL 078 on CYCLOPS records.
It can be ordered via this Web Site. Check out the "Tall Stories..." section for the lyrics, annotated notes, credits etc..
So, then I just completed the guitar/vocal parts for the 1999 PO90 album "The Time Capsule" (...just guesting...). and started to record my follow up album.
Andy, Jonathan and Simon were again on it as was Iain Fairbairn & Ian Tothill (2 fiddle players) plus the first arrival of sax virtuoso (and all round lovely...) Laura Fowles (who had been introduced to me though Pav Chana)
'No More Travelling
Chess' (the old G,F & DD Cassette only release) was let out by CYCLOPS
on CD (CYCL086) under the name of Andys' band 'Parallel Or 90
To play some LIVE dates,
I put together a BAND!!!!
We were asked to support 70's prog rockers GREENSLADE at the Classic Rock Society date in February 2001
The Line-up was to be as follows:
Jonathan Barrett : The Bass & Backing Vocals
Laura Fowles : Saxophone, Keyboards, Percussion & Backing Vocals
Neil Harris : Keyboards & Backing Vocals
John Hobson : Drums & Percussion
Guy Manning : Guitars, Keyboards & Vocals
Jonathan Barrett, the long term Bass &
Backing Vocals player decided to leave the band...suddenly.. in Feb
2001 to go join an Irish folk band
Neil and Guy played an 'unplugged' set as support to GREENSLADE as a result of being left high 'n dry by Jonathan, which went down surprisingly well.
I contacted 'Mostly Autumn' to request Angela Goldthorpe for some Flutes sessions on the next album and she agreed!
And so, work started on a new CD "Cascade" for 2001 release.
The 'Cascade' recording sessions got underway in the recording studio [now named BURNSIDE] with Angela providing Flute and Recorders!
Despite the initial leaks and 'techie' problems these went very well. This was the first not to feature Andy Tillison who was busy with PO90 at the time.
Ex-PO90 guitarist Gareth Harwood (freshly back
from work abroad) joined me on electric guitar parts
Cascade was given catalogue number CYCL 105 by CYCLOPS and the album went into song and artwork production in May 2001
"CASCADE" CD was released UK September 6th 2001
Aug 01 2001 - New CD Demo work started...he never stops???!!!
Sep 10 2001 - Rick Ashton joined on Bass to replace Jonathan
The working album title
was "The Ragged Curtain" featuring a long 20+ minutes piece and this
was assigned CYCL115 on CYCLOPS records
We also planned to go out
on tour with Parallel Or 90 Degrees for some joint dates, but this
plan fell over one night in Bradford when both bands nearly came to
blows about stage layout ..too many damn keyboards!
"The Ragged Curtain" was officially released in Jan 2003 on CYCLOPS (CYCL115) and attracted a wider audience than before. I started my own Newsgroup for all those interested in MANNING activities and waited for a while (well a week actually)
After much soul searching and demands on his time, Jonathan MacDonald Binns decided to leave the band and at the same time, Neil Harris found a BLONDIE tribute band (ATOMIC) that he decided was more rewarding. I settled down in my small converted garage recording studio to write the demos for the next album with a working title "The View From My Window"
Angela was approached again, but had to politely refuse this time because her new record company CLASSIC ROCK PRODUCTIONS would not let her 'moonlight'. I rang up KARNATAKA to see if ANNE-MARIE HELDER would be interested but found her a little too expensive on my meagre budget. The demos were finished and I started to farm out parts to Laura, Gareth & Rick. Still needed a drummer though! Pav Chana (the multi percussionist I had worked with on "TALL STORIES...") agreed to play on "VIEW" in return for me working with Laura and himself on a 'chillout' album (..still in progress Sept 2006!). I advertised for a drummer and was surprised when Hugh Whitaker (ex-THE HOUSEMARTINS) rang up. He was at a loose end and fancied a go and eventually put down parts for the big piece on "VIEW..." called 'SUITE: DREAMS'; Andy Tillison was on hand again with keys parts and took on some more drumming chores too.
The CRS again asked us to play in May 2003 (as support to 70's prog rockers FOCUS this time). I put a band together formed from Laura, Rick, Gareth plus Andy on Keys and a session drummer (John Southerden). Despite some last minute hitches, we went down very well indeed that night
THE VIEW FROM MY WINDOW was assigned catalogue number CYCL136, for release JAN 2004 (World wide; as CYCLOPS sell them mail order for some 3 months before that)
During the VIEW
recording time, I was asked by Andy, to join him a new project called
THE TANGENT. The story of this project is well documented on the
TANGENT website (www.thetangent.org) but suffice so say...putting out
an album featuring a joint contribution from
Andy Tillison (Keys, Vocals) [PO90]
Sam Baine (Piano) [PO90]
Roine Stolt (Electric Guitar, Vocals) [The Flower Kings]
Jonas Rheingold (Bass) [The Flower Kings]
Zoltan Csorsz (Drums) [The Flower Kings]
David Jackson (Saxes & Flutes) [ex Van Der Graaf Generator]
...was a great pleasure and honour (and I provided Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin & Vocals)
THE VIEW FROM MY WINDOW was released October 2003
THE TANGENT "Music That Died Alone" was released September 22nd 2003
Dec 2003 - New Album demos started for
A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH (THE JOURNAL OF ABEL MANN)
(A Concept album based on the "TALL STORIES..." character)
4.The River OF Time
6.Falling Down? Rising Up!
8.Out Of My Life
Recording sessions get underway:
Ian Fairbairn adds some great Fiddle parts to this more 'rootsy' album.
John Tipping, a young Devonshire drummer adds his parts to the demos.
Rick & Gareth finally get to sing backing parts!
Andy Tillison gets to rock 'n roll boogie on 'Midnight Sail' and put his new vintage Mini-Moog to use on 'The Dream'
Neil Harris rejoins to stand behind the Keyboards once more and puts some piano, melodica, percussion & vocal parts down for the new album
CYCLOPS informed me that they could afford to put the album out and that I must make my own arrangements.
I assemble a press pack and start to canvass Record labels looking for a new MANNING Home.
MANNING finally sign to ProgRock (a US Label) to
release the new album!
Release date was October 26th 2005 PRR 138
August 2004 - Work is completed on the
next the TANGENT album "The World That We Drive Through" ~
The album was released on InsideOut October 4th 2004 and got very favourable reviews
The Colossus "Spaghetti Western"
Project for which "La Voce Del Vento" (Guy & Any) provided a
25 minute suite ("Harmonica")
was released in October 2004
Into 2005 and a new large EPIC is being written...the 8 part title track to the new album "One Small Step..."
Del Vento' start work on BAD (Spaghetti Epic #2) for the next Colossus
Martin Orford agrees to reproduce the Flute parts written for the long suite and sends over the finished recorded Flute parts
Guy spends time in Rodez, France (with Andy Tillison and Sam Baine), recording his Acoustic guitar and Vocal parts for the new the TANGENT album "A Place In The Queue"
Van Der Graaf Generator reform, record a new album and play gigs!! Guy, Andy & Sam are on Row 6 of the Royal Festival Hall for the first night......what a superb gig!!
The live band start to rehearse for a couple of UK dates.
The band supports FOCUS again and goes down brilliantly!
"One Small Step..." was released on Oct 17 2005
by ProgRock records
1. In Swingtime
2. Night Voices
3. No Hiding Place
4. The Mexico Line
One Small Step (Parts I-VIII)
5. Star Gazing
6. For Example
7. At The End Of My Rope
8. Man Of God
9. A Blink Of The Eye
10. God Of Man
11. Black And Blue
12. Upon Returning
With Julie (Manning) King now steeled into the LIVE
outfit, Xmas came and went.
As usual, by January 2006, I had no ideas in my head and was starting to panic. I had been doodling in the studio for a few weeks and had some sketches started, but no real theme. I talked to Julie about it all and told her I had songs ideas about different people and times but no skeletal structure. She suggested that maybe all these people were related in some way and from that single simple idea I started to construct "Anser's Tree"
The family tree of Dr. Jonathan Anser, living in 2089 and beyond.
An Archaeologist digging in one of the last few remaining places above water (after the Polar caps finally melted).
"ANSER'S TREE" (PRR 270) was released in October 2006
The TANGENT "A Place In The Queue" was released on Feb 6th 2006
The band was invited to perform at the
brand new Summer's End Festival in 2006. We did an acoustic set
featuring Steve Dundon (Flutes), David Million (Elec. Gtr), Julie
King (Keys/Vox/Perc), Laura Fowles (Sax/Vox/Perc), Rick Ashton
(Bass) and me. A short set of songs which went down very well!
The Tangent decided to play some UK dates and at last I was invited to take my rightful place on stage with them. 2 dates were arranged. One at the CRS in Rotherham and the following night at the Riga Club in Southend-on-sea. This second date was to be videoed for a DVD live album release in 2007 (Released July 2007 as GOING OFF ON ONE).
Many adventures befell me as I ran up and down the motorway carrying car loads of equipment, but suffice to say...all was well that ended well (tired though we all were!)
The GUY MANNING & FRIENDS band also did the TANGENT support slot at the Rotherham CRS - at the last minute (after a cancellation)
Back at home, after all the excitement had died down, I doodled with some new ideas but in a very unhurried way.
However, when I was at the Summers' End festival,
I had stayed at a
hotel in the company of White Willow (a great band from Norway).
The hotel had 2 interesting features:
1. It was inhabited by a Macaw called Barney
2. It was just down the road from an abandoned old house.
On the way to the gig, I stopped to take a photo of the Bilston
House. A double fronted building with the windows all boarded up and
the words "Do Not Enter Here! The Last Person Died" painted in red
paint on both bay windows. I think I knew then, as I asked myself
just what had gone on in there, that there was an album to be made!
"SONGS FROM THE BILSTON HOUSE"
The following pieces went into production:
1. Songs from the Bilston House (The House)
2. The Calm Absurd (Study)
3. Lost In Play (Garden)
4. Understudy (Chapel)
5. Skimming Stones (Master Bedroom)
6. Antares (Attic)
7. Icarus & Me (Music Room)
8. Pillars Of Salt (Parlour)
9. Inner Moment (Hallway/Front door)
Each song was to be set within a location in the house.
No real mystery, no murder or menace, simply tales set within the
boundary of one particular place over many years.
The 'usual suspects' were rounded up to help out in its
David Million - Electric guitars
Laura Fowles - Saxes and Vocals
Steve Dundon - Flutes
Ian 'Walter' Fairbairn - Fiddle
Andy Tillison - Additional keyboards, Drums and Vocals
Julie King - Vocals
I provided the 6 & 12 String Acoustic and Classical guitars, Electric Gtr, Mandolins, Bouzouki, Keyboards, Bass, Percussion and Vocals
Produced by Andy Tillison / Guy Manning
The LIVE Tangent album "GOING OFF ON ONE" was released June 2007
""SONGS FROM THE BILSTON HOUSE" was released October 2007
Having released "BILSTON", I was persuaded
that it was time to get the show on the road once again. There was
talk from Festival Music (F2) about a potential live album/DVD shoot
and some European dates possibly!
But the live band had some serious obstacles to overcome...Laura (Fresh from her support slot with TAKE THAT) was going to Ibiza for nearly a year and so would not be about for live gigs. Dave Million decided to take a sabbatical from the band...so I had to find NEW musicians ..Oh no!!
Having paced ads on a lot of 'muso'
websites, I sat back waiting for the flood of offers! First to
arrive was Phil Wilkes, a very handy keys player who lives near me
in Leeds and is paid up member of the CRS (so he knows his 'prog').
Next, surprisingly I managed to entice Kris Hudson-Lee, 5 string
bass player and CRS Director into the fold as he was just quitting
his former outfit, 'Crimes Of Passion' at the time.
Kev Currie was sponsored by Phil as a hopeful for the Electric guitarist player role...which just left the drummer to find. After some searching an auditioning, we found Danny Rhodes and the core band was complete.
We have some dates in the diary, mainly
short support or multi band sets but with a promise of more dates in
the Autumn 2008!
So, you find yourself with some time, so what do you do?....write another Manning album of course!!
The new album is in production but with no real release time scale as LIVE rehearsals etc. have distracted from the normal Annual cycle
We will have to see how this turns out!
I also contributed to my WIKI entry to make it more comprehensive.
The TANGENT band was invited to Headline the Sunday night at the 2008 new Summer's End Festival. I was asked to be a part of this date, so back end of August will be spent getting the new set up to speed...
So the new line-up TANGENT headlined the Sunday night at the 2008
Andy, Theo & Jakko were augmented by BEARDFISH a young band from Norway. We went down a week prior to the gig to rehearse and meet the lads. A nicer bunch you'll never meet and a talented bunch to boot.
We rehearsed up 1.5 hrs of Tangent , Manning & Beardfish tunes to play and also our secret cover version of Yes' "Yours is no disgrace'
The festival was great and we went down very well.
On returning up North and saying goodbye
to Beardfish, my attention was brought back to the new album in
progress NUMBER TEN.
We also had to get a live set together to be special guests of ALSO EDEN at the Robin2 in Bilston. So busy busy times!
Dave Million agreed to rejoin the live band and take the lead guitar pressure off Kev a bit, but Danny Rhodes decided that he would have to leave the band at the end of 2008.
2009 will be the tenth year of my album releases and the new album is to be called Number Ten (as a consequence). There are important portents hanging over 2009!
So, the new album had its challenges. Andy agreed to produce again, but his own time pressures with new musical and personal commitments meant that we had to squeeze the album production and put its release back into 2009 (instead of the usual 'end of the year' slot). So, maybe I'll get in some 'Best of the year' polls this time ??
Number Ten is made up of 8 tracks, all different and some quite punchy!
Plenty of good tunes, interesting (I hope) lyrics and good sing along bits!
You can read all about it on the Albums page so I won't bore you with it here.
I had a longish cast list for this album as well. The usual suspects of Andy (Drums/Keys), Laura (Alto Sax/Vocals), Ian (Fiddle) & Steve (Flute/Tenor Sax) turned out again. Dave M. put some lovely guitar work down and we also enlisted Pav Chana on Percussion plus Ed Neidhardt on Soprano Sax & Bass Clarinet.
I also, finally got to sing a duet with Julie K. on "Valentine's night" !
So we are now looking passed Xmas and to getting back together in early 2009 to launch Number Ten with our new drummer Mr. Dave Albone!
Plenty of excitement to come in this 10th Anniversary year!!
THE END SO FAR (..Of This Continuing saga..)