Audience (band)

Last updated

Origin United Kingdom
Genres Art rock, progressive rock
Years active19691972
Labels Polydor, Charisma, Elektra
Members Howard Werth
Trevor Williams
Simon Jeffrey
Past membersTony Connor
Keith Gemmell
Nick Judd
Pat Charles Neuberg
John Fisher

Audience is a cult British art rock band which existed from 1969 until 1972 and then from 2004 until 2013.


The original band consisted of Howard Werth (born Howard Alexander Werth, 26 March 1947, The Mother's Hospital, Clapton, East London) on nylon-strung electric acoustic guitar and vocals; Keith Gemmell (born Keith William Gemmell, 15 February 1948, Hackney Hospital, Hackney, East London - died 24 July 2016, Beltinge, Kent) on soprano and tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet; Trevor Williams (born Trevor Leslie Williams, 19 January 1945, Hereford General Hospital, Hereford, Herefordshire) on bass guitar and vocals; and Tony Connor (born Anthony John Connor, 6 April 1947, Romford, Havering) on drums and vocals.


Audience rose from the ashes of a semi-professional soul band named 'Lloyd Alexander Real Estate', which had included all the Audience members except Connor, who had unsuccessfully auditioned for the earlier band when John Richardson left to form The Rubettes. However, when Werth, Williams, and Gemmell decided to form their new band, they thought of Connor. The 'Lloyd Alexander Real Estate' issued one 45rpm single on President PT157 in 1967 "Gonna Live Again"/"Watcha' Gonna Do (When Your Baby Leaves You)", a Mod R&B record.

Within weeks of starting rehearsals, Audience had acquired management, a publishing contract, a residency at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, and a recording contract with Polydor, with whom they recorded their first album Audience, an acoustic guitar-driven album featuring Gemmell's saxophone often electrically altered to resemble an electric lead guitar and with string and horn arrangements by Andrew Pryce Jackman. But the band was dissatisfied with the record company's promotional approach (a single, "Too Late I'm Gone" from the album had been planned and was cancelled), and temporarily moved to Switzerland to avoid involvement in proposed publicity stunts.

By the end of the year, the band was drawing public and journalistic acclaim for their songs, arrangements, and stage act. They had also been commissioned to write the score for Bronco Bullfrog , an East End skinhead film directed by Barney Platts-Mills, which established a genre subsequently taken up by Mike Leigh.


After the debut album issued on Polydor, Tony Stratton-Smith, Director of Charisma Records, spotted the band supporting Led Zeppelin and signed them up to his label immediately. Audience recorded three albums with Charisma. The first, Friend's Friend's Friend, was produced and designed by the band. Their subsequent releases House on the Hill and Lunch were produced by Gus Dudgeon, with arrangements by Robert Kirby and cover art by record sleeve designers Hipgnosis.

Their first two albums were not issued in the U.S. Elektra signed them up and their final two albums were issued in the U.S.

Dudgeon's first 45 rpm production for the band, "Indian Summer", took them into the lower reaches of the U.S. charts, but by this time they were exhausted and fractious, having worked virtually non-stop for three years. A U.S. tour with Rod Stewart and The Faces and Cactus, although successful, brought things to a head, resulting in Gemmell leaving the band in January 1972.

The unfinished Lunch album was completed with the help of The Rolling Stones and Mad Dogs and Englishmen brass section, Jim Price and Bobby Keys, following which they went straight back on the road with new members Nick Judd on keyboards and Pat Charles Neuberg on alto and soprano saxophone.


The band never recovered from Gemmell's departure; and Williams, the band's main lyricist, resigned eight months later. When Judd received an offer to join Juicy Lucy shortly thereafter, the band folded. Judd later went on to join Alan Bown, The Andy Fraser Band, Brian Eno, Frankie Miller and Sharks, most recently emerging in a Madness spin-off band.

By this time, Keith Gemmell had joined Stackridge, later to form Sammy, whose sole album was produced by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, then on to The Roy Young Band. During this time he was also doing session work and arranging, often together with film soundtrack writer John Altman, before joining the Pasadena Roof Orchestra for fourteen years.

Howard Werth was working on his first solo album at this time, still with Charisma and produced by Dudgeon. Called King Brilliant, his band, containing members of Hookfoot and with Mike Moran on keyboards, was dubbed Howard Werth and The Moonbeams, and came close to having a chart hit with Lucinda. However, it wasn't to be, and when he was headhunted by The Doors (Audience stable-mates on the U.S. Elektra record label) to replace Jim Morrison, Werth left for the USA. The Doors did not reform, and Werth found himself engaged in various short term projects with Doors' keyboard man Ray Manzarek and musicians from Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band before returning to the UK in the early 1980s. Although appearing live only occasionally, Werth later recorded two more solo albums, 6 of 1 and Half a Dozen of the Other on Demon Records and The Evolution Myth Explodes for his own Luminous Music label.

Trevor Williams joined 1960s hitmakers The Nashville Teens, a version driven by Len Tuckey, who left shortly after to help his girlfriend Suzi Quatro launch a career with Mickie Most. Williams moved on to Jonathan Kelly's Outside, recording one single, Outside, and an album Waiting On You with a band fronted by the twin guitars of Snowy White and Chaz Jankel plus ex-Graham Bond drummer Dave Sheen and percussionist Jeff Whittaker, formerly with Peter Green and Crosby, Stills and Nash. After this, he drifted back to The Nashville Teens, this time with friend Rob Hendry ex-Renaissance guitarist, and later with The Motors and Alan Price in a misconceived project to revitalise the band's image and fortunes. When this foundered, Williams left the business entirely.

Tony Connor also ended up with Mickie Most. After a stint with Jackson Heights, a spin-off from The Nice, he joined one of Most's stable, Hot Chocolate, with whom he has remained.


Despite a few minor projects together, the original Audience band members were not to re-emerge as a working entity until 32 years after their dissolution. In 2004, Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell and Trevor Williams performed in Germany, Italy, Canada and the UK, replacing Tony Connor (who remained committed to Hot Chocolate) with drummer/vocalist John Fisher (born 8 December 1960, Buxton, Derbyshire - died 27 September 2008) and recording a live album alive&kickin'&screamin'&shoutin' for Eclectic Records. During this period, Gemmell released two solo albums, The Windhover, inspired by a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Unsafe Sax, a tribute to his early '60s soul roots.

Following the death of John Fisher from pancreatic cancer on 27 September 2008, Audience recruited drummer Simon Jeffrey, who also worked with Bernie Torme, Led Zeppelin tribute band Letz Zep and Blue Pulse, which Trevor Williams joined in 2009. Audience played its final gig at London's 100 Club in 2013 shortly after which Keith Gemmell, already fighting cancer, became too unwell to play. Williams subsequently announced he did not wish to continue without Gemmell but continues to work with Blue Pulse, with whom he released an album entitled Trams in 2012, with Howard Werth also performing on several tracks.

Keith Gemmell died from tongue cancer on 24 July 2016. [1]



Studio albums


Live album


Related Research Articles

Blood, Sweat & Tears American rock music band

Blood, Sweat & Tears is a jazz-rock music group, founded in New York City in 1967. They are noted for their combination of brass and rock band instrumentation. The group recorded songs by rock/folk songwriters such as Laura Nyro, James Taylor, the Band and the Rolling Stones as well as Billie Holiday and Erik Satie. They also incorporated music from Thelonious Monk and Sergei Prokofiev into their arrangements.

War (American band) American funk band

War is an American funk/rock/soul band from Long Beach, California, known for several hit songs . Formed in 1969, War is a musical crossover band that fuses elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues, psychedelia, and reggae. According to music writer Colin Larkin, their "potent fusion of funk, R&B, rock and Latin styles produced a progressive soul sound", while Martin C. Strong calls them "one of the fiercest progressive soul combos of the '70s". Their album The World Is a Ghetto was Billboard's best-selling album of 1973. The band transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up. War was subject to many line-up changes over the course of its existence, leaving member Leroy "Lonnie" Jordan as the only original member in the current line-up; four other members created a new group called the Lowrider Band.

Return to Forever

Return to Forever was an American jazz fusion band that was founded by pianist Chick Corea in 1971. The band has had many members, with the only consistent bandmate of Corea's being bassist Stanley Clarke. With Weather Report, The Headhunters, and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever is often cited as one of the core groups of the jazz-fusion movement of the 1970s. Several musicians, including Clarke, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Al Di Meola, came to prominence through their performances on Return to Forever albums.

The Albion Band

The Albion Band, also known as The Albion Country Band, The Albion Dance Band, and The Albion Christmas Band, were a British folk rock band, originally brought together and led by musician Ashley Hutchings. Generally considered one of the most important groupings in the genre, it has contained or been associated with a large proportion of major English folk performers in its long and fluid history.

Black Widow were a rock band that formed in Leicester, England in September 1969. The band were mostly known for their early use of Satanic and occult imagery in their music and stage act.

East of Eden were a British progressive rock band, who had a Top 10 hit in the UK with the single "Jig-a-Jig" in 1970. The track was stylistically unlike any of their other work. Although some might consider them a symphonic progressive band, others state that their style is mostly jazz-oriented.

<i>Guts</i> (John Cale album) 1977 compilation album by John Cale

Guts is a retrospective compilation album by John Cale, released by Island Records in February 1977. It includes the songs "Leaving It Up To You", which was deleted from Helen of Troy, and the previously unreleased "Mary Lou". It was compiled by Howard Thompson.

Trevor Williams (bassist) British bass guitarist

Trevor Williams is a bass guitarist, vocalist and lyricist known primarily for his work with Audience, British art rock band which ran from 1969–1972 and from 2004 -2013.

The Bunch were a British folk rock band, which came together in 1971 to record their one off album, Rock On.

Trevor Burton

Trevor Burton is an English guitarist and is a founding member of The Move.

<i>Keep On Moving</i> (The Butterfield Blues Band album) 1969 studio album by The Butterfield Blues Band

Keep On Moving is the fifth album by the Butterfield Blues Band, released in 1969. It continues in the same R&B/soul-influenced horn-driven direction as the band's 1968 album In My Own Dream.

<i>Alive & Kickin & Screamin & Shoutin</i> 2005 live album by Audience

Alive & Kickin' & Screamin' & Shoutin' is a live album released in 2005 by the 1970s art rock band Audience. It was the first album following the band's break-up in 1972. It includes three original members of the band, Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell and Trevor Williams, with the new drummer John Fisher in place of Tony Connor.

<i>Lunch</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Audience

Lunch is the fourth album by the British art rock band Audience, released in 1972. It was their last original release before the departure of Keith Gemmell and the band's breaking up for several years. It peaked at 175 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Keith Gemmell British art rock wind musician and composer

Keith Gemmell was a British musician. He played saxophone, clarinet, and flute, and was best known for being a member of art rock band Audience from 1969 to 1972 and from 2004 to 2016. He was also a musical arranger and composer, published digital sheet music, wrote articles for the UK publication Music Tech Magazine, and was the author of several books including the best-seller Cubase Tips & Tricks.

<i>The House on the Hill</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Audience

The House on the Hill is the third album by the British art rock band Audience, released in 1971. At about the same time, a single, "Indian Summer", reached number 74 on the Billboard Hot 100;. The North American version of the album on Elektra Records added "Indian Summer" as the opening track, along with "It Brings A Tear" which had already appeared on the UK album Friend's Friend's Friend. The Elektra LP dropped the song "Eye To Eye".

<i>Audience</i> (album) 1969 studio album by Audience

Audience is the first album by British art rock band Audience, released in 1969. It was deleted shortly after its release and is now collectable in its original vinyl version. The band was soon afterwards signed by Tony Stratton-Smith to Charisma Records.

<i>Friends Friends Friend</i> 1970 studio album by Audience

Friend's Friend's Friend is the second album by the British art rock band Audience, released in 1970. It was originally intended to be produced by Shel Talmy; however, the band didn't warm to his approach and they opted to produce it themselves.

Howard Werth English art rock guitarist

Howard Werth is an English singer, guitarist and record producer. He was the founder and frontman of the cult British art rock band Audience from 1967 to 1972, and 2004 to date.

Rusty Lupton


  1. Beany. "Farewell Keith Gemmell". Retrieved 27 July 2016.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. Indian Summer at AllMusic