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The Phil Jones Experience on Felt

There would be one (and perhaps the briefest) addition to your list of main players and bit parters - that's me! Back in 83/84 - to be honest I can't remember which, I got a call from Cherry Red to go to Heathrow to meet Lawrence et al who were off to Norway for 4 days to do one gig. Mick Lloyd had pleurisy and couldn't travel. I was known as a jobbing bass player who had done some sessions for Mike Alway and David Motion (I think). I was friendly with a guy called John Hollingsworth who did A and R with Cherry Red at the time and I guess I had a reputation for picking things up quickly. It was a lovely adventure tbh, I really liked Lawrence who was much more down to earth than I think he has painted, tremendous talent, pretty inflexible but really knew what he liked. I taught him to play Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" on the guitar which he loved but he took exception to my red belt, which of course I had to change! I remember quite a fuss about him asking me to wear a particular style of checked shirt that the band wore at the time - I didn't mind but I think he worried that I would be offended. I had to do it up to the top button of course.

Maurice and Gary were both lovely blokes. Gary had a fantastic black country accent but was a great drummer. Maurice played me a solo album which I still have on cassette somewhere - did it ever come out? It wasn't at all like the individual solo instrumental he had recorded with Felt - really poppy. He was a lovely bloke too - I remember us trying and failing to pick up two local girls…we were with them for hours. They were very disappointed and left saying - "your music is weird but you are too straight!" Pretty much a good analysis of the band at that time - I loved the music, but they were all pretty down to earth. We spent 4 days together and had a great time. The boys were quite unworldly really and hadn't been abroad much - I'd travelled and busked quite a bit. At the time I think that Lawrence was working in a furniture shop and had been there for years. Gary I remember was really frightened of flying. I also remember that Gary used to wear 2 pairs of 501s as he worried that his legs looked skinny!

The delightful thing about getting to know them as musicians was that they were dancing to a completely different drum than I was used to. Jim Burns had built Lawrence a 5 string guitar which looked like a Stratocaster but didn't have a bottom e string. He just didn't think his guitar should have an e string and that before the Burns he used to leave it off the guitar. To be honest I just accepted the strings that came on the guitar and that would be that. Maurice simply didn't play chords - just didn't, it was constant (and quite complex) improvisation. Gary didn't have cymbals and rode the toms onto the snare and it was all part of the sound. I was a much more experienced muso than any of them but creatively they were just yards ahead

I was sure that the gig was recorded. It was in some club in Oslo which I can't remember the name of. Of course I would love to see that. When we got back to the UK I saw the band once - at ULU I think. I remember holding some fairly ambivalent views about poor old Mick as I would have liked to have been in the band full time - probably wouldn't have lasted though! I also went to Lawrence flat in Victoria too - I think that he still lives there? He showed me is record collection that I remember included "Horses", "Chelsea Girls" and of course "Marquee Moon" at the top of the pile. He also had an album (I think) of Leonard Cohen reading some of his poetry - I asked Lawrence what it was like and he replied "Oh I haven't listened to it", basically he was worried that he would be disappointed.

It's going to sound a little over the top for me to say this but it was probably one of the highlights of my life

Phil Jones