So here we are in 1968, a group of friends producing a one off vinyl album of instrumental tracks. We called ourselves 'The Romford Golden Sunshine Band'. I am on the far right in case you hadn't guessed.
My drumming was always self taught. I applied all that I heard and saw and kept practicing to get it right. I went to see lots of live bands including 'Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps', Johnny Kidd, The Pirates, and 'Lord Such & The Savages'.
These are The 4 Zodiacs - my first proper band. We played in and around East London as 'The Zodiacs' eventually changing our name to 'The Epics'. We made some recordings too. One of which ('Blue Turns To Grey') I actually heard played on the radio recently on Brian Matthew's 'Sound of the Sixties' programme. Other bands I played in were 'Teen Beats' and 'Scorpions'. I also played in backing bands for Billy Fury, Billie Davis and even for an early Freddie Starr.
Then came 'Legend' which was lead by Micky Jupp and produced by Tony Visconti. We enjoyed some success on the gig circuit around Southend and London and on the national collage circuit. We played at the original 'Marquee' club long before it became famous. Other gigs included the 100 Club, Revolution, The Roundhouse and Ronnie Scott's. Tony Had offered to produce our first album known as the 'Red Boot' for Vertigo Records. We made a 2nd album called 'Moonshine' and released five singles altogether. Tony was also producing T. Rex and David Bowie at the time when he introduced me to Marc (Bolan) who was in need of a drummer (having just had a hit with 'Ride A White Swan'). My first encounter and recording session with Marc produced 'Hot Love' and 'Woodland Rock' at Air Studio's
So there I was - thrown in to a band that were already in the charts. This photo was taken during an early UK tour when T.Rex were really starting to make a mark (if you pardon the pun!). I was the oldest in the band and already married with two children when I joined. So this was an unexpected change in life style for me. Marc and I had common Rock’n’Roll influences, so I always knew where he was coming from (as it were). I loved Jimi Hendrix's version of 'Hey Joe' and Marc loved Hendrix too. He bought me a copy of the 'Cry of Love' album saying it was "some of Jimi's finest guitar playing".
This photo was used as an official “Fan Club” postcard at the time.
Here we are backstage waiting to play at Sheffield City Hall. Don't we all look happy! Steve Currie (who played bass) is on the left and Mick O'Hallaran (our roadie) is holding Marc's guitar. To his left is sax player Ian .... from 'King Crimson' who played on 'Get It On. To my right in the corner is Pete Walmsley, a roadie from my 'Legend' days. There were no glorified dressing rooms in those days.
The schedule became busy and hectic, but there were some moments of frivolity. Someone sent me this photo of us having dinner at Tony (Visconti's) parents house in Brooklyn, New York. Nice one.
My first ever T.Rex gig was in Detroit on their inaugural U.S. tour. We recorded much of the album 'Electric Warrior' in America, and much of our time was spent in various places abroad. During the following three years we did five U.S. tours (plus promotional trips), three Canadian tours, two Far East tours and Australia. Plus numerous UK., European and Scandinavian tours.
I must say that I loved the travelling, although it took it's toll on my personal life. This photo was taken at the studio bar during the filming of a German TV programme.
During this time I still had a faith and belief in God. I was living in amongst the Rock’n’Roll lifestyle and it did take it's toll on my personal relationships, but I never got much involved in the excesses of a rock band. From that point of view I can look back now and say that I must have been protected from all of that stuff and that my Christian faith (even if it was on the back burner at the time) still helped me through.
Looking back, although I knew we were well known, I never thought of us as being that famous at the time. Perhaps because we didn't have the trappings that top bands have today, and personally speaking, never having had a specialised drum roadie.
Bill: “Marc.. can you give me some foldback” ?
Marc: “Don’t worry Bill, I’ll just turn up my amp”
Apple Studio sessions for “Born to Boogie” feature film with the Band, Ringo and Elton
One of our regular appearances on BBC Television “Top of the Pops” performing “Get it On”
Wembley Arena 1972..... Two live performances filming “Born to Boogie”.
Big stages and typical Auditorium audiences
Over the years since T.Rex I have played with bands such as 'Britannia', 'Nightriders 'Tiny Clocks', 'Zooky' (with John Lennard and Graham Smith), a reformed version of 'Legend' with Len Tucky (Suzie Quatro's guitarist), and with Daryl Read & Micky Finn. I still play with a close friend of mine, Tony Williams, who is an excellent keyboard player and I regularly play at my local church (as you will see later).
Looking back, I am very thankful for what I've been able to do and view it all with affection, including many artists and people I have met. I am also excited by the future and what God might have in store for me as I offer my abilities to Him.,
This is “Zooky”.... A band signed to DJM Records to record an album of original songs in the early 80’s.
From left to right, Yours truly.. Graham, John and Trevor.
Lenny, Bill and Bob
Bill Legend - Drums, Jimmy Chandler - guitar / vocals, John Lennard - Bass
Nightriders and Daryl Read (singer songwriter) promoting an album launch outside Buckingham Palace
.... Would you believe... It was 15 minutes before we were moved on !
This is a page from my passport. If you look closely you can see my USA visa stamp - dated Feb. 21st 1972, organised by Warner Bros. Records (written by hand) on this particular page.
Believe it or not, these are the actual menu's given out during flights that we made. I don't have many things related to T.Rex. No T.Shirts, no scarf's, only a few photo's, but I do have quite a few things that I kept from flights and hotel rooms! These are the things that provide real memories for me.
A favourite pastime of mine was to look around places whenever I got a chance. This is another souvenir in my collection.
A crumpled stage pass from one of our gigs in Santa Monica.
During touring and playing with T.Rex I met and played with many U.S. and British bands including 'War', The Doobie Bros, 3 Dog Night, Elton John, Ringo Starr, The Faces, Status Que, Mountain, Humble Pie, Dr. John, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Ralph McTell, Rory Gallagher, King Crimson and many more....
Wow, didn't we have high tech. stage passes for T.Rex!
This is the back of the same T.Rex stage pass, signed by Chelita Secunda. Chelita suggested much of Marc's wardrobe in those days
My stage pass when we were supporting '3 Dog Night' in America
A note from a fan....
I believe that God was playing His hand and keeping me away from a lot of bad scenario's. I am not saying that I have always been an angel throughout my whole life, but I certainly didn't indulge in all the drink, drugs and groupies that were on offer at that time. My Christian faith tells me that God always wants what's best for us. We have our own free will so He also allows us to make our own choices and our own mistakes, but eventually one learns that the most important thing is to seek His will for your life, because His way is always the best. God doesn't want us to 'access all areas' because some of those areas are not going to be good for us. This is what I have found, even though it took a long time for me to learn it properly and to live it for real!