ROCK LEGENDS AT ROCKFIELD - Extract from chapter one
Over the next few months I'm going to be posting extracts from each chapter of my book.. hope you enjoy them..
Here the first one from chapter One : From small acorns...
Far from being an ordinary studio, for much of the time Rockfield was also a working farm. John David recalls Kingsley Ward (the owner of the studio) was always mixing the farming and the recording:
‘Having spent some time down at the farm, Kingsley used to come into the studio stinking of cow shit to watch people recording and to chat to the bands. Sometimes if it looked like rain, he’d come into the studio and ask for volunteers to help out on the farm. No matter how big the band was, they’d be asked to help. We’d all go out – the band, producer, everyone – and bring in the hay and load the bales.’
Ray Martinez was one of those musicians, who didn’t mind being asked to help out on the farm.
‘It really was a working dairy farm at the time. Both Kingsley and Charles were working hard doing the milking and whatever else was needed, while also running a studio at the same time. It was all very primitive really, but it worked. Occasionally they’d get us to help them round up the cows now and again. There was a bit of haymaking in the summer and we’d drink cider and all that. It was fun. You just mucked in like one big happy family.’
There aren’t many recording studios where rock stars get to become farm-hands for the day. But Kingsley’s way of running the studio is unique and long time house producer John David is full of praise for the way he controls Rockfield.
‘Kingsley is the arch motivator. His ambition is limitless and he’s always really enthusiastic. He’s one of the most eccentric people I know, though he’s also such an infectious character.’
Ray Martinez was also taken by Kingsley’s distinctive way of doing things:
‘His attitude is very bold. He used to walk into any record company Managing Director’s office with a Mickey Mouse t-shirt on, and tell them in no uncertain terms “Here I am. This is what I’ve got.” He’d cut the bullshit. He didn’t creep around people, but always went straight for the top guy and treated them the same way he’d treat anyone else. So he got through loads of doors that way. But it’s not what you expect from the head of a major recording studio.’
John David remembers a particular incident where Kingsley, once again, left the suits at a big record label with their jaws dropped in disbelief:
‘We went up to a meeting at Phonogram Records in around 1977. Once inside, he did a handstand on a boardroom table! He just went through these double doors that he’d picked at random. Inside there was this high powered meeting going on but, unfazed, Kingsley just did a headstand on the table, looked at these guys, said “sorry” three times and came out again. I mean you just don’t do that. It was the board of Phonogram! But, yeah, he’s funny and he hasn’t changed a bit, he’s still exactly the same.
Booze and drugs were another big element at Rockfield.
It all helped to oil the wheels and encourage friendships, as bands recording at Rockfield mingled and shared stories - such as the time when Black Sabbath and Hawkwind smoked a few joints together in the Coach House accommodation in the early 70’s. And Lee Slater, a guitarist with the band put together by former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’anno, was gob smacked to meet one of his heroes when rehearsing there in 1982. ‘We were there for a few weeks doing a demo for what was to become Di’Anno’s first album after leaving Maiden. We were relaxing one night when in walks Robert Plant! He came in to say hello, and at the same time he dropped us a case of 24 lagers for us to enjoy. We had a chat about our band, the studio, Led Zeppelin (of course!!) and what he was doing at the time. To be honest, most of the time my chin was on the floor in amazement that Robert Plant had walked in with a case of beer and said “Hi guys, how's it going?”
ROCK LEGENDS AT ROCKFIELD --- NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
JEFF COLLINS' book on the hysterical behind-the-scene antics of rock icons at the world famous Rockfield Studios is due out on SEPTEMBER 15TH. ROCK LEGENDS AT ROCKFIELD (on University of Wales Press) is now available for PRE-ORDER on WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK
ROCK LEGENDS AT ROCKFIELD features Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Robert Plant, Judas priest, Rush, Budgie, Hawkwind, Tokyo Dragons, Gillan, Oasis, Stone Roses and many many more. Read about the music, drugs, drink and farmyard animals!!! You laugh! You'll cry!!! You'll probably cry again with laughter. Access all areas with ROCK LEGENDS AT ROCKFIELD.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Legends-Rockfield-Jeff-Collins/dp/070832097X/ref=sr_1_4/203-6091528-7555138?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173188870&sr=1-4
or search for Rock legends at Rockfield.