Swamp & Rocharch

In the early part of 1971 I did a few more gigs with Roy St John at folk clubs but we then decided to try a band format again. Roy had many songs that justified being played loud and with more of a rock arrangement. Chris Hall joined us on drums and we formed Swamp. We played the Rainbow Club several times. Attendances were now much larger than in the early days, particularly at the all night gigs. Steve Crossley (formerly with skinhead band Bootlace Fungus) later joined us on bass guitar. Roy St John did return to the US and was living in St Louis, Missouri, but he has since moved back to the UK. Later that same year I began jamming and writing with vocalist / pianist / bass guitarist Simon Wiltshire.

This marked the beginning of a more experimental approach to music - avoiding the obvious and conventional rock styles. Chris Hall again joined us as drummer - however, Simon's career in teaching meant a move from Alton, Hampshire to London and much of our labours never bore fruit. Simon and I did a couple of local gigs at the end of the year, still using the band name Phoenix Gnasha, but before he departed he did put me in touch with a couple of local lads, Paul Coaker and Kev Wilcox, who were planning to get a band together. I started jamming with Paul (on bass) and Kevin (on drums) at the music workshop near Fleet, Hampshire, and with Stan Bailey on guitar. This became the line-up of the band Rocharch. We did a few gigs, including one at the end of the Santa Pod drag strip in Bedfordshire but we split up when Stan left to pursue his main ambition to become a classical violinist.


Paul and I played the Windsor Free Festival that August with a stand-in drummer called 'The Baron'. Eventually, John Bland joined us as regular drummer and this became the Ebling Mis band of 1973.

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