Fast Buck were an emerging band from
the pub rock scene of the mid 70s and secured high profile tour supports
to Kevin Ayers (including Friars), ELO and The Pretty Things. We caught
up with the face and voice of the band, Ed Hamilton, and some surprises
in store as you will see there is more to Ed's musical history than
meets the eye as we discuss amongst other things Sheena Easton and The
Nolans. Ed is an Oscar nominated songwriter and when in a band called
The Night Shifts, replaced Jeff Beck who then replaced Ed. We
spoke to Ed in November 2011.
publicity shot for Fast Buck - Ed is
on the left. (Fast Buck website)
Thank you Ed for talking to the Friars Aylesbury website. I wasn't old
enough to see you at the time, but I am impressed that having played at
Friars in July 1976, you are still playing now and with exactly the same
line up, that's impressive 35 years after!
Was it really 35
hot summer of 1976!
Wow, I can
remember it as if it was yesterday.
remember the specific Friars gig?
you remember exactly?
I remember that
Kevin Ayers was a bit of strange lad and a bit of strange
audience. They weren't really our audience, they were a bit
hippy but they were OK, we went down alright. But not as well as
we were used to.
I remember the gig
well, we were slightly wary and looked out at the audience and
had quite heavy and dark make up on and looked a little spaced
out (laughs!) - Kevin went down well and we stayed and watched
Musically you were different to Kevin - I've listened to some of
your stuff and it's great. How would you describe yourselves?
You seemed to get tagged in with the pub rock scene, would you
see that as fair?
(Laughs) Well, we
did come out of the pub scene, but then so did Dire Straits.
Andy Summers and The Police. Andy, as you know was in Kevin
Ayers band. We got on really well with Kevin's band. Charlie
McCracken I saw some years later at Wembley Stadium and Andy
Summers used to buy his stuff from Rolands on the Great West
Road where our drummer worked for a while. Mike (Baron) said to
Andy "I don't suppose you remember me, I was in a band called
Fast Buck" Andy did remember him and remembered that we had
toured with them in Kevin Ayers. Zoot Money was good and I know
Rob Townshend hasn't been so well. We got on with all of them,
they were great musicians, but Kevin had cultivated this hippy
aura so we were happier on the ELO and Pretty Things tours.
you mention them, as when Friars opened its doors after a 25
years absence in 2009, we had The Pretty Things
headlining...they were great and blew me away. Still with Phil
May and Dick Taylor.
Dick wasn't in the
band when we toured with them and we had a run in with Phil May
on that tour. The first gig of the tour was at Brunel University
in Uxbridge. Our respective record companies had organised the
tour, it was nothing to with the bands. After the first gig,
Phil May demanded £500 before the gig at Birmingham or else he
wasn't going to let us use the PA. We protested it was unfair as
we hadn't organised any of this and he basically told us to go
'forth and multiply' so I told him to shove the PA up his arse
and we would use our own which we did setting up the PA in front
of theirs. Our P.A. at the time was massive. After the sound
check as we came off stage we heard the tour manager saying to
Phil that he may have made a bit of a mistake. After that they
were alright with us. We didn't invite these hassles. We worked
with a lot of other bands and never had problems. We never had
any issues with ELO who were much bigger. We got on with most
people, the issue with the Pretty Things aside which
Yes, this was
around the time they were about to become a world wide success.
They had a tour of America and we were supposed to support them
there but we got pulled out of the tour because the American
record company wanted an American act as support.
of Fast Buck, you did some work with Bonnie Tyler?
I made a couple of
albums and some singles with her and then came back to the band.
I was supposed to go to America with her, but I wanted to keep
the band going. Because I knew her management, Ronnie Scott (not
related to the jazz club) who was the manager/songwriter with a
publishing company I wrote for, he used to help me with my demos
and my songs so he knew my capabilities and offered me the job
with Bonnie Tyler.
solo outside of the band confines, was this the first major
artist you had worked with?
No, I had already
worked with the Outlaws in the 60s with Chas Hodges. I worked
with Dave Peacock and Mickey Burt in other bands and before they
were Chas and Dave.
also with Head Hands and Feet......
Yes and when we
came off the road, we opened a studio called Fast Buck Studios
in Chiswick and I recorded many of these people. Tony Colton,
The Strawbs, Gerard Kenny etc.
from having checked up on you, your musical history is
so. I also think it's the first time I have ever spoken to an
Oscar nominated songwriter..! - you got nominated for Loving on
Borrowed Time (from the film Cobra) which was recorded by Gladys
Knight and Bill Medley. Many people reading this will not have
realised till now that you also wrote Night Games for Graham
Bonnet which was a massive hit record.
That song was
originally for Fast Buck and we did a demo at Fast Buck Studios
because we'd finished our contract with Jet Records and I wanted
to get another one. I had worked 36/37 hours with Dominic
Bugatti (a great songwriter and all round good fellow, but a
stickler when recording!) at the studio and when I got home I
was so hyped up. When you are recording someone and working the
desk you have to be so on the case and you can't make mistakes
because that take could be the take of the night, you had to
capture everything. It was about 2am and I sat down and picked
up my Strat and started strumming Em. I wrote the first verse
and the chorus of Night Games straight down but the second verse
took another two weeks to write.
sometimes they just fall into your lap or they take a while.....
Yes, but you have
the come down and you want to go to bed, so you think I'll
finish that in the morning...! (laughs) As it turns out, it was
quite a good song and I was quite happy with it. I took it to
the rest of the guys and said 'I don't generally say this but I
think this is a hit and I want us to do it and to get another
record deal'. I took it around to all the record companies and
they all said it was alright but it wasn't a hit. I told them I
would ring them up when it was sitting on the chart.....
must have been a joy, just a shame you couldn't do it with Fast
I rang them all up
and Kevin Roland who was in a band called Family Dog in the
1970s (and was A&R at a record company) just said after I
pointed out it was a big hit all over the radio, oh it wasn't
the version I heard.....! Unfortunately I felt I had to prove a
point. Graham Bonnet had just left Rainbow after two huge
singles with them and I wanted to prove myself as a songwriter
and was offered a cover with Bonnet and said to the guys I was
going to have to take it. It was a bit of a shame but the Bonnet
version had Cozy Powell, Micky Moody, Gary Twigg on bass and
Status Quo's keyboard player. Our version is available too on
the Fast Buck 2 album, and I think it's much better.
leave the band at that point....?
No, we were
running the studio from 1978 to 1987. For various reasons the
band drifted as they continued to play whilst I was running the
studio but we got back occasionally to play special gigs and
reformed permanently a few years ago and have been playing ever
done the songwriting and also producing and you mentioned Micky
Moody (from Whitesnake) - you've done some other stuff with him
Micky Moody and
Bob Young (Status Quo tour manager) had an occasional band
called the Young and Moody band and I became their lead singer.
They were friendly and it was an occasional thing. They had a
song which I did the lyrics for and he said I like the sound and
it's nearly a hit and asked where I did it. I told them it was
at our studios. They came down with some well known session
players and I did a session [with them] and did some vocals and
fell into it. And they asked me to do an album and had this
concept of having a supergroup and getting in the likes of Lemmy
and The Nolans(!). I agreed to do that and we ended up on Swap
Shop and Tiswas and the like.
trying to get my head round a supergroup with Lemmy and the
I'll tell you what
- a lot of people have no time for the Nolans but they are so
professional and they thought it was great as no-one had ever
thought to ask them to do something like that before. They
worked harder than any of us to get it right. They were very
together and so nice.
right in saying you worked with Sheena Easton also?
I worked with her
and crossed over a few times in various projects but we never
shared a stage. We had some songwriters called Mike Leeson and
Peter Vale who John Deacon of Queen had discovered. He had a
deal with Sheena Easton's management and we recorded all her
early stuff down there. She was really nice and it turned out
she came from a place 1.5 miles from me. She's from Bellshill,
I'm from Motherwell. We had a lot in common. She was great. This
was just before she broke with Modern Girl. She went from there
to being huge in America.
I also played on
BBC's Pebble Mill with a band that included Mick Underwood (Gillan)
and Neil Murray and Micky Moody from Whitesnake. Leeson and Vale
went on to be very successful songwriters. Mick Leeson wrote the
lyrics to For Your Eyes Only which Sheena Easton did for the
James Bond film. Pete Vale co wrote Love Will Keep Us Alive for
the Eagles comeback album (co written with Paul Carrack). Aside
from Sheena Easton they had a number one with Charles and
Eddie's Would I Lie To You? They came good.
such a depth to your musical history and looking back, you also
worked with Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham in the forerunner to Fast
Buck didn't you?
tentatively called Special Brew. He saw me playing in a pub in
Wandsworth and he loved my voice so why didn't I sing with his
band? We alternated between Special Brew and Fast Buck and when
Scott told me he was going to join Thin Lizzy and the drummer
was going to join Slack Alice as he didn't want to be left
behind, he thought I would crumble into nothing but I held
auditions and got the other three musicians who ultimately
became Fast Buck. The last contracted gig as Special Brew after
Scott Gorham left, I borrowed some good friends of mine, the
guitarist and drummer of Hot Chocolate who were huge at the
time. Scott was in the audience and joined us for some
harmonies. Rob Grant the bass player in the Scott Gorham line up
is now a doctor of American history and lives in Atlanta,
Georgia. He tracked me down through the Fast Buck website and
came over to see me earlier this year. I hadn't seen him since
1975. He came over to see the duo Andy Locke (also from Fast
Buck) and I play as A&E at a gig in Harrow.
full circle and as I mentioned at the start, you are gigging
regularly with Fast Buck again...
Yes, we are
playing quite a few gigs. We still have that three part harmony
magic we used to such good effect, and a host of our original
fans. It's great fun.
Fantastic to hear your story and thank you for talking to us.
Thank you very much for your time.
Official Fast Buck
interview and its content are © 2011 Mike O'Connor/www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk and
may not be used in whole or in part without permission.