John Lawton – Interviews from the archives

This year will bring a new Lucifer’s Friend album, the follow-up to 2016’s “Too Late To Hate”.

John Lawton stated a few days ago [posted to the band’s official facebook page] :
“We have a new album in the process of being mixed which we were going to call “THE LAST STAND” hoping to have it ready by the beginning of June….
It has taken a little longer due to the workload of our New York
producer Simon Hesslein.
However we have decided to rename the album “BLACK MOON”
Many fans were under the impression that the original title meant it would be the last LF album, but we are pleased to say that we are currently in the process of writing new material which we will
record over the coming months….;-)
LF rides again……

In the past I have been fortunate enough to interview John a number of times. they’re still on my Universal Wheels site, but i’ll catalogue them here…..and throw in a few clips…

from 2002, discussing the CD re-issue of the Rebel & Zar albums.

from 2003, discussing John’s solo album “Sting In The Tale”.

from 2007, discussing John’s OTR project, as well as other projects at the time.

from 2008, John & Jan Dumee discussing their album “Mamonama”.

from 2013, John discusses his recording with Diana Express.

*an interesting read on the band’s debut LP –

*in the last few years Repertoire Records has reissued the classic “Banquet” album on CD and 180g vinyl! –

*a review of Too Late To Hate [not mine] –






Uriah Heep – Sonic Origami

Uriah Heep – Sonic Origami

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When Heep’s new album “Living The Dream” is released this fall it will also mark 20 years since the band’s “Sonic Origami” album. That album was the follow up to 1995’s fantastic comeback album “Sea Of LIght”. While many felt Sea of Light was a classic Heep sounding album, and far better and more rocking than the previous few studio albums, Sonic Origami saw the band lightening things up a bit with more acoustic tracks and ballads. While I loved SOL, it’s follow up would be my favorite, and it remains my favorite album throughout the Bernie Shaw fronted years, largely for the variety and the number of great songs.

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The opener “Between Two Worlds” remains the classiest and heaviest Heep track since the early ’70s. Glad to see it brought back in to the live set on the band’s current tour of North America. This album offered a really mixed bag from rockers like Sweet Pretender, Feels Like, and Everything In Life [a latter day Easy Livin], poppier gems like Only The Young and Perfect Little Heart, progressive tracks in Change and In The Moment, and a number of ballads, most notably the guitar driven Shelter From The Rain, acoustic tracks Heartless Land & Question, and a cover of Survivor’s Across The Miles [also issued as the first CD single]. The hope being that Across The Miles would fetch plenty of radio play for the band in North America, but Journey-type ballads were apparently out of fashion at the time, and it didn’t work as planned, and a massive tour of the US upon the album’s release was pulled at the last moment. The band did however get plenty of mileage out of this album – well more than half of it would feature in the band’s live set for the next year plus, with 8 ending up on the excellent live album “Future Echoes Of The Past”.
Sonic Origami was produced by the legendary Pip Williams [The Moody Blues, Sweet, Graham Bonnet, Gillan, Status Quo…], who was also knowledgeable of Heep’s history and talents. Glad to see it is being reissued on vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day.
Sonic Origami has a few notable distinctions :
It was the last studio album to feature Lee Kerslake
It was the last studio album to feature ballads
it was the first studio album Not to be issued on vinyl! *A limited edition would be issued a few years later, these now fetch more than $200+ .

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Below is a few links from the time, including my review then and an interview i did with Mick and Bernie [via phone, separately] at the time.
i remember the day i was to interview Mick and Bernie [via phone] then. On that date, i was home with my sons – one was 3, one was a few months old! i missed the first call because someone was ‘fussin’. the guys were kind enough to call back. I had a nice chat with Mick, then i had to pick up my youngest before Bernie came on. My oldest was content watching TV in the next room. My youngest was less cooperative and much of my time speaking with Bernie included some cries and screaming. At one point Bernie commented – ‘oh, someone needs their mommy’. well, she was at work, so i had to deal with it. i still have it on tape somewhere! Regardless, they were interviews i appreciated. At the time the guys were very enthusiastic, and it’s a shame that things fell though. A great album and potentially an amazing opportunity missed. Happy to report that That baby who screamed throughout my chat with Bernie , as well as the one that came after him – were both with me, and had a great time – when we saw Heep in London, Ontario, 2 months ago!

Dennis Coffey – from 2007

I’d interviewed Detroit guitar legend Dennis Coffey years ago, via email. At the time I  was curious about his long list of credits of Detroit funk albums, sessions, as well as his production [such as Canadian band Amish, from 1972] .

Recently pulled out the “Back Home” LP. Classic funk stuff, jazzy, a bit of rock, soul, mainly instrumental, from 1976. Amazing player, who featured on many Motown classics. Looking for more DC albums [LP], tough to find. Also, check out the Dennis Coffey trio’s 1969 album “Hair And Thangs” – classic early hard-rock, very heavy, a bit o funk; fantastic album with heavy guitar and organ throughout.


Below is a link to the interview. Enjoy!

Uriah Heep – Live in Ontario, 2018

A few years back, when Uriah Heep played in the US, the closest they came for me was Akron, Ohio – a show a few of us went to. It was a great show, great venue, great crowd. After the show it became apparent that there were a number of us who traveled from Southern Ontario to see the band; someone asked Bernie why the band hadn’t been up to Toronto and his response was “we can’t get arrested up there” – as in no one would book them. Well, fast forward 3 years, in the middle of a snowy and extremely cold winter – and the band played 6 shows in 7 nights in Ontario and Quebec -ALL either sold out or were damn close to being! Shitty weather, no new album to promote – and the people turned out in huge numbers! Who knew!? I was fortunate enough to attend both London and Toronto shows. Below is a brief review and [pardon] some mediocre camera pics 😉


The band’s newest set wastes no time on getting into and has very few softer moments — get to the bar and bathroom before they come on stage!
First appearing is keyboard player Phil Lanzon playing those opening notes to Gypsy, accompanied by Dave Rimmer [bass]. The band came on and roared right into the classic – from their first album in 1970, and followed it up with Look At Yourself and Shadows Of Grief [both from 1971]. Drummer – Russell Gilbrook is such a huge player, that he really drives the band to be heavier, and the fans light up when Mick Box enters the stage for the first track – recognizing just who he is. Bernie Shaw IS the singer for Heep. Not only has he come to own those classics, but he knows how to get reactions out of the crowd and how to get everyone fired up.

The band’s set would carry on with the majority of early 70s material, seeing as Heep has no new album as of yet to promote. It is only a 13 song set, but it includes a few lengthy numbers in The Magicians Birthday and the epic heavy ballad July Morning.

There was also the favorites Stealin, The Wizard, Sunrise — the former 2 being a very few of the Heep tracks that classic rock radio routinely play, and the crowd knew them word for word. there were a handful of post glory-days songs in the set – The Law from 2014’s “Outsider” album, which is an interesting choice, as it changes the pace a bit [it is the only song in the set that seems to allow the crowd to settle down a bit], as well as One Minute [from the same album] – which many in the crowd recognized, it is a great live number. Between Two Worlds [from 1998’s “Sonic Origami”] is met with great response from the crowd; it is a heavy song and features 2 killer solos from Mick, so if anyone didn’t know this song beforehand – they’d remember it afterwards!


The set closes with the acoustic track Lady In Black, from 1971. Not a hit at the time, but was a huge hit years later in Europe [upon re-release], and became a big crowd favorite, as it allows for Bernie to get the audience’ participation. An odd way to end things, but hey after a lot of noise – the band came back out and do their biggest hit and recognizable song – Easy Livin. And despite all the re-records and live versions on record — this has never sounded heavier or better [especially in Toronto, I really liked the sound in the Phoenix theatre].


It was 90 minutes full of energy and classic songs. Part of that may be the point that these guys are really having a good time – I hope the band doesn’t wait a whole year [as Bernie said they’d be back next year after the new album is released this fall] – Heep could/should come back sooner than later, lots of other cities to add to the list. Regardless, looking forward to the new album and Next tour!

*The band is currently on a break, and return to the US & Canada in April.  check out the dates for the west side of North America at >

KJJ, March ’18

Mark Stanway – Interview with British Keyboard Legend, ex of Magnum


Mark Stanway was a member of the legendary band Magnum from 1980, util his sudden departure in 2016. The band being a fine mix of hard-rock, pop, and prog – Mark’s contributions to the band’s recordings were a major part of the band’s sound. Since his departure from Magnum, he has kept busy getting new projects going, which will be of major interest to Magnum fans, as well as those that remember the band Grand Slam [w/ Phil Lynott, RIP].


In this interview, Mark shares some recollections from his early days, his time with Magnum, and what he is currently up to and has in the works for the future.


Check out more on Mark’s history, his upcoming gigs and projects, stories, and to order his book –  

Also, check out Mark’s youtube channel –


Can you give me a ‘top 10’ of your favourite recordings/LPs growing up in the 60s and 70s?
Beatles: Sgt Pepper, Revolver, White Album, Rubber Soul, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream: Disraeli Gears, Led Zeppelin 1 & 2, Jimmy Hendrix, Billy Cobham: Spectrum, Focus: Moving Waves, Camel: The Snowgoose. Jeff Beck
You were heavily influence by jazz, as well as John Mayall. Do you have any favorite pop/rock keyboard players who you picked up from and admired over the years?
Jon Lord, Don Airey, Tony Carey, Tony Hymas, Jan Hammer, and the list goes on

Your first big gig was playing with Alvin Stardust, who was on Magnet Records. I also assume you’re in / were in Wolverhampton [!?] . curious if you could recall a tale from those days or from any of those Wolverhampton bands – Trapeze, Fable…?
Yes I played with the guys from Trapeze (individually) and knew them all well.

You joined Magnum in 1980. what were you first impressions of the band and their music at the time?
I liked the fact that it was keyboard orientated rock at the time, I knew all the guys before I joined also

You played on so many Great Magnum albums. Looking back at the run the band had throughout the 80s from Chasing The Dragon on – what were/are some of your proudest or favorite moments on record? Fave contributions , solos, intros….
Obviously the intro to Sacred Hour (which my wife actually wrote and I adapted for the record but was refused a credit, being a new boy at the time I didn’t argue, but all of the albums from Chase the Dragon all the way up to 1995, when Tony split the band up – were all good albums and I was given a fair bit of freedom with the keyboard parts and

Magnum had a huge following in the UK, but never really broke through in North America. And why would you think the band never made it huge over here or managed to get on regular tours here?

Yes as we only ever played there once supporting Ozzy in 1982. So that’s why we never cracked the States as we didn’t go there again

You worked briefly with Phil Lynott in his solo band and Grand Slam. What impressed you most about Phil – as a person [friend] and as a writer / musician?
I worked with Phil from Summer 1983 on his solo tour and continued to work with him and formed Grand Slam up until late 1984. Phil was a great friend, great sense of humour, great writer and deliverer of lyrics and open to all contributions from me at all times. A true star and sadly still miss him so much

During Gland Slam you guys recorded and performed “Dedication”, a song many only know as a Thin Lizzy song [which it wasn’t really]. What do you recall of recording/performing this one and any other new tracks you guys were working on?

Dedication was written by Laurence Archer for Grand Slam (lyrics were by Phil, the music by Laurence), and we performed it many times,   I have all the recordings (mostly on cassettes that we ever did) and we worked on many tracks together including, Military Man which I actually co-wrote, Sisters of Mercy, Slam, Gay Boys and many more – all of which I co wrote also


During your time with Magnum, songs were [are] always written by Tony Clarkin. Was that the deal when you joined and did you ever put forth material?
Tony always wrote the songs, which was not negotiable! I obviously contributed keyboard parts and arrangements

How did a Magnum song evolve in the studio – because your keyboards were a huge part of the band’s sound, and there was plenty of room for grand intros and solos. [!?]
Tony would, back in the day – just come to the studio and play his song ideas with just an acoustic guitar and they evolved from that really; that is up until the time he got a computer and learned how to record his demos at home.

I did not really get Magnum until I got Into The Valley Of The Moonking to review when it came out, and from there I was hooked [and am still trying to fill in gaps in my collection]. Again, for you – what are the highlights on record and as far as the live shows from 2002 til 2016? and can you shed any insight into a few of those fantastic keyboard intros – When We Were Younger, Live Til You Die, Crazy Old Mothers….?
I used to take the demos home and work on parts in my own small studio and then take them back to the recording studio and some were used and some were not, I still have copies on CD of the stuff I did even the stuff that was not used.

Can you or will you ever shed any light into the reasons for leaving the band in 2016? 

Yes in time or maybe my next book (which I have started), which would enable me to answer the question comprehensively which cannot be done properly in a few paragraphs or an interview. Its like trying to tell someone why their 36 year marriage came to an end!! There are 36 years worth of small reasons which accumulated and
came to a head which basically made my decision/mind up for me.

You wrote and released your own book in 2015. Now, I’m only part way in to it – but there are some hilarious stories. How exactly did you determine that you should do this and how has feedback been, particularly from a few of those mentioned in some of the stories?
The book continues to sell and I started writing it years ago, it is all 100% positive stuff about Magnum but I was never allowed to sell it at Magnum shows which obviously resulted in the serious potential loss of sales. It was after my book was released that tensions arose which still baffles me to this day.

You’ve been very busy since leaving – reforming Grand Slam, solo shows….what else am I missing?

My ‘Evening With’ Shows are taking priority at the moment as I still have to earn a living etc, but also do a lot of Raffles on my facebook group page for local causes which is worthwhile and fun albeit very time consuming. I am also when we get the chance writing new Grand Slam Material with Laurence for a proposed new album as and when time permits. I am also looking at putting an all star band together for late autumn (again if I get the time)

What’s the status on a new Grand Slam album? when will it be out and who will be writing and playing on it? will there some of Phil’s songs used?
We have a live recording and DVD from Sweden Rock 2 years ago which we will also get round to mixing and finishing which does have the old Grand Slam songs included. (The rest of the answer to this question is answered in the previous questions response )

You’ve done a few solo shows (?) – what do these shows consist of – as far as material performed and guests who perform with you?
I have only done 1 show so far and you should get to one, as they will vary from show to show dependant on the availability of friends and guest artists.

Do you foresee yourself putting together a band and/or writing and recording a solo album?
Yes again as time permits, I have several songs waiting to be recorded when the time is right and convenient

Do you buy / listen to a lot of music at home? and anything in particular these days?
I always listen to music at home and watch very little TV, and what I listen to always depends on my mood at the time so it could be anything from Debussy, Stevie Wonder, Gino Vannelli, especially anything by Jeff Beck, all the way through to Art Tatum, Meades Lux Lewis and Fats Waller!!


Interview, Kevin J. / Feb. ’18




Peter Goalby & Uriah Heep In The 80s

Uriah Heep entered the ’80s on a downward slide. Conquest was released in 1980, and following the departure of Ken Hensley, and eventually the whole Conquest line-up – the band had split up in ’81. Mick Box would revamp the band welcoming back Lee Kerslake, and adding Bob Daisley [bass], John Sinclair [keys], and lastly singer Peter Goalby. the latter had not been chosen in previous auditions [in favor of Sloman]. Producer Ashley Howe highly recommended Goalby this time, and the band got to work on a new album.
Abominog was released to strong reviews, and the single “Thats The Way That It Is” [penned by Paul Bliss] – charted in various countries, including the US where the video for the song was in regular rotation on MTV. the band toured extensively – everywhere, making a very respectable return to North America. the band’s follow up was “Head First” – with less outside penned tracks, but with record company problems at Bronze and at Mercury [North America], the album suffered on promotion and getting out there, particularly in North America where changes at Mercury pre-determined the album’s fate. for me this was a stronger album – particularly side 2 – the Best LP side from the band during the ’80s.

Following Head First’s released, Bob Daisley left Heep and returned to work with Ozzy Osbourne, and Trevor Bolder rejoined [after recording one album with Wishbone Ash]. After some big tours [supporting Def Leppard, Judas Priest, etc…] – the band was out of a record deal, with Bronze eventually folding. They signed to Portrait [a label under CBS] and recorded with the “Equator” album. Instead of Ashley Howe, Tony Platt was brought in to produce [credits included Samson, Iron Maiden, Krokus, AC/DC…] . For whatever reason, in the mix and use of then-modern technology, the album’s sound was tough to handle for many fans, and the MTV aimed pop of “Rockarama” turned off many [despite it being a big single release and video]. But, take the songs, and there are a number of gems on this album.  The band would be back out on a huge world tour, which eventually got to be too much for Goalby – who left in 1986, to get out of “the circus”, and focus on other things in his life. John Sinclair also left [joining Ozzy’s band, as well]. Phil Lanzon [ex Grand Prix, Sweet] joined and has gone on to be a major writer for the band.

Initially the band chose American Stephen [Stef] Fontaine [ex Joshua], as their new singer. Nothing was recorded during the time, and for various reasons Fontaine was left in the US, following a 3 month North American tour. Fontaine did fit the 80s stuff vocally, and was a big fan of the Goalby era. “I love the Equator album with a passion! For some reason very few people bought that, but it’s my favorite Uriah Heep record.”
By the new year the band chose transplanted Canadian singer Bernie Shaw [ex Grand Prix, Stratus], and went on to their historic concerts in Moscow, thus releasing “Live In Moscow” [with 3 new songs in the set]. They would try and repeat the success of Abominog with the recording of “Raging Silence’, which would feature a number of outside-penned tracks, most notably a cover of Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up” and the big single “Blood Red Roses” – which had been penned for the band by Peter Goalby! The album received favorable reviews, but didnt succeed where Abominog had. the band would continue to tour, and would enter the 90s with a line-up that would last for another 16 years.
Following his departure from Heep, Goalby released a solo single, guested on a few recordings [most notably Slade], and in 1992 contributed to John Parr’s “Man In Motion” album, co-writing and playing rhythm guitar on 3 tracks – including the single “It’s Startin All Over Again”. There was also a live performance of War Of The Worlds with Uli Roth, in ’92 [which included a few other singers and orchestra].
Peter Goalby would also get a publishing deal with Rondor Music, and record some demos for a solo album – which never ended up being finished or released. Some of these tracks are easily available through youtube, and showed promise. A shame they were never done, and a bit sad that Goalby dropped out of making music and performing; opting to go on [with great success] working behind the scenes for a guitar company and in latter years a road case company. He was an underrated writer and solid singer and he played a major role and who contributed greatly to Heep’s resurrection and success in the ’80s.

Here’s my list of 10 Heep classics from the Peter Goalby era – 

Too Scared To Run
This song kicked off Abominog and the band’s comeback with a huge riff, a heavy rocker that gets you in to this album right away.

Chasing Shadows
Another song from Goalby. I love the 1-2 punch of the beginning of Abominog. Just a great song. Huge solo from Mick!

On The Rebound
I know many will disagree with this one being included. Yes – it’s a cover, it’s got a synth bass line [because Daisley hated it], and it’s very poppy. But – it was chosen to show that the band could do new things. and i’ve said before – you can not go wrong with a Russ Ballard song!

Sell Your Soul
From Abominog. Lee Kerslake kills this. I think playing on the the 2 Blizzard of Ozz albums really played a part in his performance on the Goalby era albums. Love the vocal, the guitar, a very heavy track, and must’ve been great live!

Red Lights
Following the “Roll-Overture” that opens side 2 of Head First. “Red Lights” comes blaring in . It’s one of the hardest hitting, fast rockers of the Goalby era. Great driving song!

Weekend Warriors

The closing song to Head First, and it’s another heavy power rocker. During this era the band closed each album with such a track. Lee and Bob sounded so good together, like this song is as heavy as anything on the BOZ albums. Wish i had lyrics to this album.

Bad Blood
A great little forgotten rocker from Equator. Ya know, for all the ballads, covers, and a few too poppy tunes the band did during this era, they really did A Lot of great guitar rock tunes, with Mick Box really coming to the forefront of the bands sound, far more than the 70s.

Poor Little Rich Girl
I love this one – the acoustic, the solo, the vocal. as close to an epic as Heep got in the 80s. One of Goalby’s proudest moments, tho he wasn’t happy with the string piece in the middle. It was a single, and a classic Heep tune IMO.

Backstage Girl
A b-side. I’ve always loved this tune. Despite 80s Heep being more guitar heavy, keyboardist John Sinclair came up with a lot of great intros. This one was penned about Goalby’s best four-legged friend, who he took to the odd few shows with a Heep shirt on.

Night of The Wolf
Equator included a few really good rockers [and a few duds]. This one being my favoite. love the spooky intro from John Sinclair, before the band comes in and blazes away. Goalby was so good at these type of songs, big vocal! this is one that must’ve been something live, and one from the 80s that’d be cool to hear in the band’s live set now.

Peter Goalby’s Pre-Heep Recordings- 

Fable – Fable
Produced by Peter Shelley, who would create the Alvin Stardust character, and had co-founded Magnet Records. Mike Stone was a co-engineer on this album – Stone would go on to engineer and/or produce Queen, Journey, April Wine, Whitesnake, Helix, and numerous others. Fable was a 5 piece band, who’d release a few singles and this lone LP. Peter Goalby wrote 8 of the 10 tracks, was lead singer, as well as contributing guitar, mandolin and violin.
This is kind of a middle of the road pop-rock album, drawing in a number of different sounds and styles. nothing really heavy, but a number of good songs such as “She Knows How To Love Me” [co-written by Goalby and keyboardist Paul Robbins], “Four Horsemen” [penned by Robbins, who was a big CSNY fan, as the band would regularly perform CSNY tunes in their set], the quirkie “Google Eye Eye”, and rockin “Hard Times” [penned by Robbins]. Fave track is Goalby’s “Madolin” , a neat little upbeat folk-pop track, featuring mandolin, with an intro curiously like Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” [interesting to note that Queen was recording around the same time with Mike Stone, in the same studios].
The cover appears to be a tree with the band’s name carved in it. Looks neat on the front, but makes the lyrics on the back [in white] difficult to read. This album also saw a few single releases with picture sleeves, so there must’ve been some push in promoting it early on. I wonder how it did!? Good luck finding a copy!
“We were a very very good cover band, 5-piece, everyone sang. ..I started to write songs and then we started to get noticed, then the other guys started to write a bit….No real direction – just pleased that we had some of our own stuff to play.”

Both Peter Mackie and Paul Robbins would go on to work with Roy Wood [ex The Move, ELO]. Not sure what became of the others, but would be curious to know [!?]
Following Fable, Magnet was only interested in re-signing Goalby, but wanted to groom him as a pop singer [Magnet had a roster of pop and glam acts]. He recorded a few solo singles, as well as writing for others — he penned the hit “The Bump” for Zig Zag, as well as the follow up – “Keep On Bumpin” – both produced by Barry Blue! John Fiddy would produce as well as handle orchestra arrangements on one of Goalby’s solo singles [Fiddy had previously worked on Heep’s “Salisbury”]. – “They put me in the studio with a guy who put loads of strings on my songs and took them down the Jack Jones route.” . When he asked by Magnet boss Michael Levy [Lord Levy] what He wanted – Goalby told him he wanted to be a rock singer, and left Magnet soon after.

At some point before Trapeze, Goalby was in Blackmore’s Rainbow for a month, after playing a song he wrote in to the phone for Blackmore and then going to New York [likely around the same time as Mark Clarke] – “I found Ritchie very difficult. I did not know what he really wanted, I just could not fit in.” 

Trapeze – Hold On / Live In Texas
Following his solo deal, and turning down a few band opportunities – Goalby joined Trapeze as singer and 2nd guitarist, to aid Mel Galley. This line-up also featured Pete Wright on bass and the late Dave Holland on drums. In what would be the last Trapeze studio, Goalby penned 3 tracks – the single “Don’t Ask Me How I Know”, “When You Go To Heaven”, and “Livin On Love” – all solid tracks on this album. This album is a big step up from the lighter Fable and his poppy solo single since. Co-Produced by Jimmy Miller – known for his work with the Stones, and who’d go on to work briefly with Heep, with sessions that were never finished or released.
Trapeze went out on tour [they were always big in certain areas of the US, most notably Texas]. “Live In Texas – Dead Armadillos” was released in 1981, but by then Goalby had opted to join Uriah Heep. The band was huge in Texas, but management couldnt get the band support much beyond that. “I remember the next time we toured America, we were special guests to Nazareth. when we hit Houston they asked if we wanted to go on second. Mel said No, and when we finished our set – most of the crowd left with us!” This is a great energetic live set, featuring 6 Trapeze classics, and Goalby sounding like he always belonged. It was his first time playing in the US. Also featured Steve Bray on drums, who would briefly join The Byron Band!

More on Trapeze another time….

KJJ, 03/18

Peter Goalby quotes – 2002 KJJ