Stackridge are true Friars
legends. Seven gigs at Friars Aylesbury alone. Stackridge went their
separate ways after the last Friars gig at the end of 1975. They are
back together in 2009, gigging and have a new album out for good
measure. A UK tour is going to be happening as well.
Stackridge in recent times
(Mutter's in the middle). Photo Mick Booy.
So, Mr Slater, your audience
awaits you. Let's talk about Stackridge Lemon.
Friars Aylesbury Website:
Mutter, welcome to the Friars Aylesbury website. Let's start with a
great piece of trivia....you were the first ever act at Glastonbury back
in 1970, the days when Michael Eavis gave everyone attending a free pint
The whole weekend was a pound
and free milk! (laughs)
Good old Michael Eavis, he knows
how to get the crowds in! And you returned to Glastonbury last year
We were on the acoustic stage.
And it was pretty much the
original line up from first time round at Glastonbury as well, wasn't
Yes, there were four out of the
Not bad going! Out of curiosity,
where does the name Stackridge come from?
The bass player came up with the
name in 1969. It was originally Stackridge Lemon. It was meant to sound
like it meant nothing but like the psychedelic American west coast names
like Iron Butterfly and that sort of thing.
So that kind of ilk....
Yes, and then in adverts and
interviews, they kept dropping the Lemon and then they would spell
Stackridge wrong. But we shortened the name.
There should have been a big
super gig...Stackridge Lemon, Iron Butterfly, Jethro Tull, Uriah
Stackridge Lemon was a great
name. In terms of names, how did you become Mutter and how did James
become Crun? What's the story behind that?
They were both nicknames we had
as mates. Mine was from school. If I was playing football, someone would
shout to pass and it went from Slater to Slutter and then to Gutter and
Mutter. And Mutter stuck even after school. James, for reasons I do not
know, was nicknamed Crunberry (laughs), how you get from James Walter to
Crunberry, I don't know! But that's why he's called Crun.
Thought there had to be some
reason! So in the early 1970s you were starting to get yourself noticed.
I am fairly certain that a Friars fan recommended you to David Stopps
after seeing you at the 1972 Reading Festival. Your first Friars
appearance was the 1972 Christmas party. I bet you won't remember who
the support band was?!
The Average White Band!
Bloody hell! We were on the same
agency so it was probably one of their first gigs....
and for 75p!
(laughs) The Average White Band
formed out of Forever More and Glencoe. Hamish came from a Scottish band
called Dream Police.
Glencoe appeared at Friars! By
the time you made your second appearance at Friars in 1973, how about
this for a quote...."Stackridge are the happiest band in Britain...a
tranquiliser to make you smile!" - that's from the Friars flyer from
I've not heard that before!
Yes, and it went on to describe
how happy you were! I was listening to stuff like the Galloping Gaucho
recently and there is a feel good factor that pervades your music.
So in 1974, you were still on
the way up and played Friars again and here's some useless trivia for
you....you played the first and last Friars gig of 1975 as well as the
birthday party - three in the year! Let's talk about the June Friars
sixth birthday party gig, that's the one where Peter Gabriel jumped out
of a cake, what do you recall about that?
We were on stage when it
happened. We stopped playing having been primed when to stop and said we
had a birthday cake to bring on and then Peter sprang out! The crowd's
reaction was amazing.
I got an email from someone who
said they met me at that gig and introduced them to Gabriel in the bar!
And then the year end gig....I
remember you saying how pleased you were that the bigger hall was full
(compared to the Phase Two gigs) and then sadly you didn't play Friars
Yes, we packed up in April 1976.
What did you do after that?
I had got married two years
before in 1974. The band packing up meant no income so I had to get a
job. My wife had had enough of me hardly being home - we were rehearsing
and recording n London and gigging as well. Then Andy (Cresswell Davis)
called and suggested we might want to reconvene. I'd been working a few
months at this point. I said, look, I'm 26, we've had a shot at it, it
didn't work, I want to settle down and grow up a bit. I carried on
working. Occasionally I got a band together and played pubs. But for 20
years, I largely ignored music. I had a son and did the married man bit.
Sounds a bit like Still Crazy
where after splitting, the band put their instruments in the loft and
kept them there until a reunion came along!
I got rid of things, but I kept
the flute....but didn't play it. After 25 years, the first thing I did
was buy a guitar! (laughs)
Not just being out of
Stackridge, but the music business for 20 years, it must have been
strange when you had been striving for mainstream success to see James
and Andy have a huge hit (The Korgis' Everybody's Got To Learn
They had one minor and one big
The royalties must have set them
James gets the royalties from
that one, I think that one song set him up for life, especially with the
cover version of it as well. Even Beck has done a version of it in
that film, Beauty of the Spotless Mind.
Beck doing it must be
interesting. I've kept up to speed with a lot of Friars acts and I know
that when Stackridge reformed after a few attempts, there were a number
of issues. It's not for me delve in to or ask for the nitty gritties,
but there were some things going on?
They reformed around 1999 and
Mike Evans (original member and violinist) and his wife Jennie were the
ones pushing it really to get it up and running.
They ran the Stackridge website,
certainly at that time?
Yes, they run stackridge.com and
they won't relinquish it, but that's another story. When Stackridge
restarted neither myself nor Andy were in the band. Andy couldn't get
along with it all so pulled out. There were personality things. If he
wasn't doing it, I wasn't interested. That's why I got involved this
time, because Andy was, so I went along with it. I didn't expect it to
last over two years as it has. I expected Andy and James to have a row
in the first six weeks and that would be it! Then we started gigging and
(we thought just) old fans would be interested and that would be that,
but we've got a new album out!
Time has obviously healed some
of the issues....
We're all older and mellower!
So it's working better now. With
the original attempts....
Jennie brought her
organisational skills but she was a little too forceful...
It's clear from the outside
looking in at your "other" website that something was going on and it
wasn't as good as it could have been!
(laughs) On stackridge.com it
says we aren't gigging which is a bit of a bugger. We're moving on from
it. We're touring the UK in the new year with a new album and we can
move away from all of that.
You're going to pick up new fans
on the way and not just the fans that say saw you at Friars the first
time round. People will be bringing their kids and that...
Yes that has happened at a few
gigs. We have met people's offspring who say to us that they have heard
our music since they were two! We love it! It's refreshing for
And it's humorous as well! I'm
looking at that Old Grey Whistle Test clip of you doing Dancing on
Air....what the bloody hell was going on!!! It was a wonderful set with
the palm trees and deckchairs....
We did that ourselves. There
were some props in the BBC studios from another production and we
'borrowed' some. We did a few run throughs and had to stop for lunch
because of union rules. Whilst everyone was out, we got this stuff and
put it on stage. By the time they came back from lunch and saw the
stage, they were apoplectic!
Mutter, thanks for bringing us
up to date in the world of Stackridge. See you soon!
This interview and its content
are © 2009 Mike O'Connor/www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk and may not be used
in whole or in part without permission.