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Friday, March 23, 2012

Cliff Davies (on the right) with Marvin Taylor (our guitar player in "Out a Hand" Band)...this was back in the 80's...I think Cliff was drumming for Ted Nugent at this time....I miss Cliff, what a great guy to talk to - I miss all our conversations....RIP, buddy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cliff Davies (RIP) - Drummer, Producer, Songwriter

<< from a letter I wrote last year when Cliff Davies, my old friend, was found dead from an apparent self inflicted gun shot wound...I still miss this guy and I wish he was still with us>>

Cliff Davies (RIP brother…)

I first met Cliff back in the 70’s when Mose Jones (our band) opened a show and IF (Cliff’s band from England) was the headline group. We opened a few shows for them that year, and the band members hit it off right away - we quickly became fast friends and we all respected the musicianship immensely, it was mutual and obvious. We had a great time hanging out together off the stage as well - it was a lot of fun for both bands.

During that year or early the next, IF’s manager, Lew Futterman, called to offer me the keyboard/vocal position with IF - they were preparing to go in the studio and record their album “Tea breaks over, back on your ‘eads” …they wanted to fly me out right away and add me to their band and record their album. I was flattered to say the least.

Side note: IF was a Rock/Jazz/Blues band from London England - they started out as England’s answer to BLOOD, SWEAT, & TEARS (an 7 piece horn driven jazz/rock band created in the 60’s by Dick Morrissey - one of London’s top and popular Jazz sax players). The band had 8 or 9 albums to it’s credit (CBS and CAPITTAL Records)

I turned down the IF offer, not because I wasn’t interested, I was - but our band Mose Jones had recently added our good friend guitar player Davis Causey to our band and we wanted to give Mose one more big opportunity to make it or break it…well, it took about 6 months to realize we weren’t going anywhere playing every small club in every small town throughout the southeast, so we broke up. Soon after I received a call again asking if I wanted to join up with the IF band for their series of tours in support of their new album - so I joined IF and immediately flew to London for rehearsal. At this point the band consist of:

Ÿ         Dick Morrissey (sax, flute)

Ÿ         Cliff Davies (drums, vocals)

Ÿ         Geoff Whitehorn (guitar, vocals)

Ÿ         Walt Monahan (bass, vocals)

Ÿ         Steve McRay (keys, vocals)

The band toured around England and Wales, recorded a few live broadcast, one for the BBC, and then came to the US for an extended tour over here - I think the whole thing took about 7 months - It was a great experience and the music was fun - we played some great shows, some headlining and others co-billed with artist like Kiss, Ted Nugent, and others, and then it was over …the IF band broke up for good.

I came back home, and soon received a call from Cliff - he wanted me come back over and help write some new songs and try to get a record deal based on my voice and style…so I went back to London, and lived with Cliff and his wife while we wrote songs and rehearsed and eventually recorded 4 songs at Manfred Mann’s studio. The songs turned out fine, but we were unable to secure a record deal at that time. In the meantime, I was getting back involved with our old band Mose Jones - we decided to just play some gigs under another name to make some money.

While this was going on, Lew Futterman, who was IF’s manager, became Ted Nugent’s manager and subsequently hired Cliff to come help produce and play drums for Ted’s new album project, which was being recorded at the Sound Pit in Atlanta. I was called in to play keyboards and do some background vocals for Ted’s album. Cliff did an excellent job of sussing out the songs and combining  the strength of Ted’s sound and ability with that of Derick’s vocals, Rob’s bass, and Cliff’s polished drum sound - it was what the record buying public wanted to hear - and it was a great match producing 2 successful solo albums for Ted Nugent and launching an even greater carrier for Ted.

Through all of this, Cliff worked hard and was easily accessible to all his friends. He and his wife eventually moved to Atlanta and set up a residence…

<<more later, on my association with my old friend Cliff Davis....>>