Spooky Tooth

Last updated

Spooky Tooth
Origin Carlisle, England
Genres
Years active1967–1970, 1972–1974, 1998–1999, 2004, 2008–2009
Labels Island, CBS, A&M (U.S./Canada)
Associated acts The V.I.P.'s/Art
Past members Luther Grosvenor
Mike Harrison
Mike Kellie
Greg Ridley
Gary Wright
Andy Leigh
Henry McCullough
Alan Spenner
Chris Stainton
John Hawken
Steve Thompson
Bryson Graham
Ian Herbert
Mick Jones
Chris Stewart
Val Burke
Mike Patto
Joey Albrecht
Michael Becker
Steve Farris
Shem von Schroeck
Tom Brechtlein

Spooky Tooth were an English rock band. Principally active between 1967 and 1974, the band re-formed several times in later years.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Contents

History

Prior to Spooky Tooth, four of the band's five founding members had performed in the band Art (formerly known as The V.I.P.'s). Following the dissolution of Art, the members of that band's final line-up (guitarist Luther Grosvenor, vocalist Mike Harrison, drummer Mike Kellie and bassist Greg Ridley) joined forces with American keyboardist/vocalist Gary Wright in October 1967 and formed Spooky Tooth. Wright was introduced to the members of Art by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. [1]

The V.I.P.'s were a British R&B musical ensemble formed in Carlisle, Cumberland, in late 1963, out of an earlier outfit known as The Ramrods, who had formed in Carlisle in 1960. From a musical reorientation the band changed their name to Art in 1967, and released the album Supernatural Fairy Tales.

Luther James Grosvenor is an English rock musician, who played guitar in Spooky Tooth, briefly in Stealers Wheel and, under the pseudonym Ariel Bender, in Mott the Hoople and Widowmaker.

Mike Harrison (musician) British singer

Mike Harrison was an English musician, most notable as a principal lead singer of Spooky Tooth and as a solo artist. He was also the lead singer in The V.I.P.'s, Art and the Hamburg Blues Band, among others.

Their debut, It's All About , was released in June 1968 on Island and was produced by Jimmy Miller, who was also the man behind the boards for Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith .

<i>Its All About</i> 1968 studio album by Spooky Tooth

It's All About is the 1968 debut album of British band Spooky Tooth. The album was originally released in England by Island Records.

Jimmy Miller was an American record producer and musician. While he produced albums for dozens of different bands and artists, he is most closely associated for his work with several key musical acts of the 1960s and 1970s. He rose to prominence working with the various bands of vocalist Steve Winwood. His best acclaimed work was his late 1960s-early 1970s work with the Rolling Stones for whom he produced a string of singles and albums that rank among the most critically and financially successful works of the band's career: Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile on Main St. (1972) and Goats Head Soup (1973). In the late 1970s, he began working with the band Motörhead, and continued to produce until his death in 1994.

Traffic (band) English rock band

Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were "Paper Sun", "Hole in My Shoe", and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".

The second album, Spooky Two (March 1969), also manned by Miller, gained some attention in the rock press but, like the debut, failed to sell. It was the last album release by the original lineup and included their now classic version of the Larry Weiss penned "Evil Woman" and "Better by You, Better than Me", which was covered by Judas Priest on their release Stained Class (1978).

<i>Spooky Two</i> 1969 studio album by Spooky Tooth

Spooky Two is the second studio album by the English rock band Spooky Tooth. It was originally released in March 1969, on the label Island Records.

Laurence D. "Larry" Weiss is an American songwriter and musician. He wrote "Rhinestone Cowboy", a US no.1 hit for Glen Campbell in 1975; and co-wrote "Bend Me, Shape Me", "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and several other international hits.

"Better by You, Better than Me" is a 1969 song by the English rock band Spooky Tooth. The song was covered in 1978 by heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Ridley joined Humble Pie in 1969 and was replaced by Andy Leigh for the album Ceremony (December 1969). The experimental nature of Ceremony received mixed reviews and despite the project being instigated by Gary Wright, [2] the album is considered by him to have ended the band's career. The record is described by another as being "one of the great screw-ups in rock history". [2] As Wright describes it, "...We did a project that wasn't our album. It was with this French electronic music composer named Pierre Henry. We just told the label, 'You know this is his album, not our album. We'll play on it just like musicians.' And then when the album was finished, they said, 'Oh no no — it's great. We're gonna release this as your next album.' We said, 'You can't do that. It doesn't have anything to do with the direction of Spooky Two and it will ruin our career.' And that's exactly what happened." [3]

<i>Ceremony</i> (Spooky Tooth and Pierre Henry album) 1969 studio album by Spooky Tooth with Pierre Henry

Ceremony is a 1969 album by progressive UK rock band Spooky Tooth in collaboration with French electronic and "found-object" composer Pierre Henry.

Pierre Henry French composer

Pierre Georges Henry was a French composer, considered a pioneer of musique concrète.

Wright left the band following the release of the album. Harrison, Grosvenor and Kellie remained and recorded The Last Puff (July 1970) with members of Joe Cocker's Grease Band (guitarist Henry McCullough, keyboardist Chris Stainton and bassist Alan Spenner).

<i>The Last Puff</i> 1970 studio album by Spooky Tooth

The Last Puff is an album by British rock band Spooky Tooth, released in 1970.

Joe Cocker English rock and blues singer

John Robert Cocker, better known as Joe Cocker, was an English singer. He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and distinctive versions of popular songs of varying genres.

Henry McCullough British musician

Henry Campbell Liken McCullough was a Northern Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was best known for his work as a member of Spooky Tooth, the Grease Band, and Paul McCartney and Wings. He also performed and recorded as a solo artist and session musician.

Singer Mike Harrison on stage with the band in the 1970s Spooky tooth 2.JPG
Singer Mike Harrison on stage with the band in the 1970s

In the autumn of 1970 the band embarked on a European tour that was undertaken with a line-up of Harrison, Grosvenor, Kellie, keyboardist John Hawken (ex-Nashville Teens) and bassist Steve Thompson. After this, the group disbanded, though Harrison and Wright reformed Spooky Tooth in September 1972 with a different line-up.

You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw was the first album by the reunited band, released in May 1973 on Island Records. Founding guitarist Grosvenor did not rejoin the band, as he had teamed up with Mott The Hoople, adopting the stage name of Ariel Bender. Grosvenor was succeeded by Mick Jones, while founding drummer Kellie was replaced by Bryson Graham. Bass chores were handled by Ian Herbert, then Chris Stewart.

For their next album, Witness (November 1973), original drummer Mike Kellie returned in place of Bryson Graham. Gary Wright remained the dominant songwriter at this stage of the band's history. But co-lead singer Harrison left following the album's release and Mike Patto was the new vocalist, alongside Wright, when they recorded The Mirror (October 1974), which also included new bass player Val Burke and Bryson Graham back on drums. But the album's failure led to Wright leaving once again for a solo career and the group disbanding in November 1974. [4]

After Spooky Tooth

Mick Jones went on to form the hugely successful Foreigner in 1976.

Grosvenor later played with Stealers Wheel and joined Mott the Hoople in the 1970s (replacing Mick Ralphs who left to form Bad Company), adopting the name Ariel Bender. In 2005 he founded The Ariel Bender Band, with which he still occasionally performs. [5] In 2018 and 2019 he toured with a reformed Mott the Hoople.

Kellie later joined The Only Ones in the late 1970s also performing with them in 1980s. The band reformed in 2007. [6]

Ridley became a member of Humble Pie. On 19 November 2003 he died in Alicante, Spain, of pneumonia and resulting complications. He was 56. [7]

Wright began to develop an international solo career in the 1970s and had a hit with the radio-friendly "Dream Weaver".

Harrison, Grosvenor, Ridley and Kellie reunited as Spooky Tooth at points in 1997 and 1998, which resulted in an album, Cross Purpose , released in February 1999.

Harrison played and recorded with The Hamburg Blues Band and appeared on their CD Touch (2002). [8]

In June 2004 Harrison, Wright and Kellie were again re-united as Spooky Tooth with Joey Albrecht (guitar) and Michael Becker (bass) for two concerts in Germany, resulting in a DVD Nomad Poets (2007).

In 2006 Harrison released his first solo album in over thirty years, Late Starter .

In February 2008 the latest incarnation of Spooky Tooth, featuring Harrison, Wright and Kellie, along with guitarist Steve Farris from Mr. Mister and Shem von Schroeck (bass), played a series of European dates. On 29 May 2009, this same lineup (with drummer Tom Brechtlein replacing Kellie) played at Island Records' 50th Anniversary at Shepherd's Bush Empire, before touring Germany that June.

In 2012 Mike Kellie started work on a solo album. [9]

Kellie died on 18 January 2017 after a short illness, [10] [11] [12] and Mike Harrison died on 25 March 2018 at the age of 72. [13]

Media depictions

The band was featured in the 1970 documentary Groupies.

Personnel

Members

Line-ups

1967 – 19691969 – 197019701970
  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Andy Leigh – bass
  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • John Hawken – keyboards
  • Steve Thompson – bass
1970 – 19721972 – 19731973 – 19741974

Disbanded

  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Bryson Graham – drums
  • Ian Herbert – bass
  • Mick Jones – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mick Jones – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Chris Stewart – bass
  • Mick Jones – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Val Burke – bass, vocals
  • Bryson Graham – drums
  • Mike Patto – vocals, keyboards
1974 – 19981998 – 19991999 – 20042004

Disbanded

  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Greg Ridley – bass

Disbanded

  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Joey Albrecht – guitar
  • Michael Becker – bass
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
2004 – 20082008 – 200920092010 – 2020

Disbanded

  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Steve Farris – guitar
  • Shem von Schroeck – bass
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Steve Farris – guitar
  • Shem von Schroeck – bass
  • Tom Brechtlein – drums

Disbanded

Timeline

Spooky Tooth

Discography

Studio albums

Compilations, live and other albums

Singles

Related Research Articles

Mott the Hoople British rock band

Mott the Hoople are an English rock band with strong R&B roots, popular in the glam rock era of the early to mid-1970s. They are best known for the song "All the Young Dudes", written for them by David Bowie and appearing on their 1972 album of the same name.

Gary Wright American recording artist; singer, songwriter, musician, and composer

Gary Malcolm Wright is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer best known for his 1976 hit songs "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive", and for his role in helping establish the synthesizer as a leading instrument in rock and pop music. Wright's breakthrough album, The Dream Weaver (1975), came after he had spent seven years in London as, alternately, a member of the British heavy rock band Spooky Tooth and a solo artist on A&M Records. While in England, he played keyboards on former Beatle George Harrison's triple album All Things Must Pass (1970), so beginning a friendship that inspired the Indian religious themes and spirituality inherent in Wright's subsequent songwriting. His work since the late 1980s has embraced world music and the new age genre, although none of his post-1976 releases has matched the popularity of The Dream Weaver.

Guy Stevens English record producer and music manager

Guy Stevens was a British music industry figure whose roles included DJ, record producer, and band manager. He was influential in promoting R&B music in Britain in the 1960s, gave the rock bands Procol Harum and Mott the Hoople their distinctive names, and co-produced The Clash's album London Calling.

Bryson Macrae Graham was an English rock drummer, most notable as a member of Mainhorse, Spooky Tooth and Girl, and as a session musician.

Greg Ridley British musician

Alfred Gregory "Greg" Ridley was an English rock bassist and a founding member of Humble Pie.

Mike Kellie English rock drummer

Michael Alexander Kellie was an English musician, composer and record producer.

<i>Supernatural Fairy Tales</i> 1967 studio album by Art

Supernatural Fairy Tales is the only album by Art, who were formerly known as The V.I.P.'s. The album contains mostly band compositions plus a cover of The Young Rascals' "Come on Up" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth". Unusual for 1967, the album was issued in mono only.

<i>The Mirror</i> (Spooky Tooth album) 1974 studio album by Spooky Tooth

The Mirror is an album by the British rock band Spooky Tooth. It was the only Spooky Tooth album to be released without contributions from Mike Harrison. It also was their last album for nearly twenty-five years, until Cross Purpose in 1999. The Mirror was released in October 1974, one month before group members had permanently disbanded. Members went on to form such bands as Foreigner and The Only Ones.

<i>Rainbow Rider</i> (album) 1975 studio album by Mike Harrison

Rainbow Rider is the third solo album by Mike Harrison, most notable as a principal lead singer for Spooky Tooth. It was released in 1975, on Island Records in North America, and Goodear Records in the United Kingdom. In addition to being part of Harrison's body of solo work, the album is notable as containing one of the earlier and comparatively rare recordings of the Bob Dylan song, "I'll Keep It With Mine", written in 1964 and recorded by Nico, Fairport Convention and Marianne Faithfull, among others. The album was recorded in Nashville, subsequent to Harrison's departure from Spooky Tooth, following the release of Witness (1973). The album features a number of Nashville's best known session musicians of that time, as well as Morgan Fisher, then of Mott the Hoople, and Mick Jones, formerly of Spooky Tooth and later founder of Foreigner. The album was produced and engineered by Chris Kimsey, whose reputation as a recording engineer had developed when he was the engineer on the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, released in 1971. Rainbow Rider was one of Kimsey's first engagements as a producer. Still at an early stage of his career, Kimsey had produced Monkey Grip, the first Bill Wyman solo album, released in 1974, one year prior to Rainbow Rider.

<i>Cross Purpose</i> 1999 studio album by Spooky Tooth

Cross Purpose is the final album released by Spooky Tooth on Ruf Records in 1999. It was the first album released by the band in twenty-five years, following The Mirror, released in 1974, and the first album in thirty years to feature the majority of the original band lineup, which last recorded Spooky Two, in 1969.

<i>You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw</i> 1973 studio album by Spooky Tooth

You Broke My Heart So ... I Busted Your Jaw is an album by Spooky Tooth, first released in 1973 on Island Records. It was the first album to be released after the band re-formed, following their 1970 breakup. Founding guitarist Luther Grosvenor did not rejoin the band, as he had joined Mott The Hoople as a guitarist, adopting the stage name of Ariel Bender. Grosvenor was replaced by Mick Jones, who later co-founded Foreigner while founding drummer Mike Kellie was replaced by Bryson Graham. The album was remastered and re-released with a bonus track on compact disc (CD) in January 2005 by Repertoire.

<i>Witness</i> (Spooky Tooth album) 1973 studio album by Spooky Tooth

Witness is an album released by Spooky Tooth in 1973. For this album, original drummer Mike Kellie returned and substantially replaced Bryson Graham. Gary Wright remained the dominant songwriter at this stage of the band's history. Co-lead singer Mike Harrison left the band following the release of the album. The album was remastered and re-released on compact disc (CD) in January 2005 by Repertoire Records.

<i>Footprint</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Gary Wright

Footprint is the second solo album by American musician Gary Wright, released in 1971 on A&M Records. It contains "Stand for Our Rights", an anthem-like song calling for social unity that was issued as a single in advance of the album. Wright recorded the majority of Footprint in London with a large cast of musicians – including George Harrison, Hugh McCracken, Alan White, Klaus Voormann, Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner and Bobby Keys – many of whom, like Wright, had played on Harrison's All Things Must Pass triple album in 1970. Harrison's contributions included an uncredited role as producer, and serve as an example of his support for Wright during the early stages of the latter's solo career. The ballad "Love to Survive" is one of three tracks that feature an orchestral arrangement by John Barham.

References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 June 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. 1 2 Jim Farber, What Happened To Spooky Tooth?. Musicaficionado, 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  3. Gary Wright: Vintage Rock interview
  4. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 270. CN 5585.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. "The Only Ones – Official Website". Theonlyones.biz. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  7. "Biography (page 5)". Greg Ridley Official Website.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Mike Kellie, Drummer for Spooky Tooth, Dies". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  11. "Mike Kellie (The Only Ones, Spooky Tooth drummer ) RIP - Louder Than War". Louderthanwar.com. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  12. "Drummer Mike Kellie dies aged 69". Musicweek.com. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  13. "Mike Harrison Of SPOOKY TOOTH Passed Away". DMME.net. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  14. "Spooky Tooth – Tobacco Road". Discogs.com. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  15. https://www.top40.nl/top40/1970/week-41