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Stackridge being interviewed at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival. From the left: Andy Davis, James Warren, Mutter Slater and Crun Walter.
|Labels||MCA Records, Rocket, Sire Records, Helium Records|
|Associated acts||The Korgis, Mutter Slater Band, Little Dixie, The Scrotes, The Blue Meanies, The Next Best Thing, James Warren & Friends, DLM, Lose The Shoes|
|Past members||Andy Cresswell-Davis
Mike "Mutter" Slater
Billy "Sparkle" Bent
Jim "Crun" Walter
Peter Van Hooke
Stackridge Lemon was formed from the remains of Grytpype Thynne by Andy Davis and James "Crun" Walter during 1969 in the Bristol/Bath area of the UK. After initial experimentation, the word Lemon was dropped from the band's name. The band played its first London gig at The Temple in Wardour Street on 6 February 1970. Stackridge were the opening and closing act at the first Glastonbury Festival between 19 September and 20 September 1970. During 1970 the band shared a communal flat as their headquarters at 32, West Mall in Clifton, Bristol, the address of which Davis and Warren later used as the title of a song which appeared on the debut album Stackridge.
During 1971 Stackridge began serious gigging, although Crun left to take up bricklaying. The group (Davis, Warren, Bent, Evans, Slater) embarked on a UK tour supporting Wishbone Ash. Later in the year they signed to MCA Records and recorded their first album Stackridge, at De Lane Lea Studios, London. They toured the UK as headliners with Renaissance supporting and played their first John Peel session for the BBC, which included a version of The Beatles' Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown).
The group continued on a year of touring, again with Wishbone Ash and Forever More. The second album Friendliness was quickly recorded in August 1972 and released in November with some songs that had started life in pre-Stackridge days. By this time Crun had rejoined the band which consisted of Davis, Warren, Slater, Evans, Walter and Billy Sparkle.
In February 1973 the band made their first television appearance on BBC2's "The Old Grey Whistle Test". They then toured during February and March with Camel in support. The third album The Man in the Bowler Hat was recorded during 1973 at AIR Studios, London with producer George Martin. The album was released in February 1974 to excellent reviews, but failed to sell in large quantities. This was their highest charting album in the UK, reaching no. 23. A different version of the album was released in the U.S. under the title Pinafore Days and became their only U.S. chart entry, peaking at no. 191, although a US tour never materialised. Almost as soon as the album was finished the band were joined by Keith Gemmell from Audience; and shortly thereafter Evans, Slater, Sparkle, Walter, and Warren all departed the band and were replaced by Rod Bowkett (keyboards), Rare Bird member Paul Karas (bass), and Roy Morgan (drums), as Davis took full control of the band. The group that went on tour to support the album sounded quite different from the one on the record.
The fourth album Extravaganza on Elton John's record label The Rocket Record Company was recorded at AIR Studios with Tony Ashton producing and Rod Bowkett joining to contribute to the songwriting. The band now consisted of Davis, Bowkett, Gemmell, Karas and Morgan, along with the returning Slater, Evans, and Walter. Non-Stackridge written songs and cover versions became more prevalent. With more touring and an appearance at Wembley Stadium concert with Elton John and The Beach Boys, 1975 saw the recording of the band's fifth outing in the studio, the concept album Mr. Mick. It was based on stories/poems by Steve Augard and was eventually recorded at Ramport Studios, Putney with the revised line-up of Davis, Slater, Walter, Gemmell plus the addition of ex-Greenslade Dave Lawson on keyboards and Peter Van Hooke on drums.
The Rocket Record Company, the group's record label, performed considerable editing on Mr. Mick, and insisted on the inclusion of a Beatles cover song, "Hold Me Tight". The album received some good press, but some shows were abandoned on the grounds that the stages were too small. They performed a final show in April 1976, and shortly afterwards the band disintegrated. MCA Records released the compilation Do the Stanley late in 1976. It contained songs from the first three albums along with singles and a previously unreleased song "Let There Be Lids", taken from their live performances.
Stackridge officially announced in 1977 that they had disbanded; James Warren and Andy Cresswell-Davis formed The Korgis a few years later, and had some commercial success in the early 1980s.
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert, released by Windsong in July 1992, raised renewed interest in the band. John Sherry, Roy Morgan and Rod Lynton proposed a reunion tour but this never materialized. The album was re-issued by Strange Fruit in 1996.
During 1996, talks were held between original members about possible reunion and recording started. And the following year, 1997 Stackridge - The Radio One Sessions was released by Strange Fruit Records.
By June 1999, the Come Back To Front UK tour was under way and June that year saw Something for the Weekend released, featuring the line-up of James Warren, Jim "Crun" Walter, Mike Evans, Richard Stubbings, John Miller, and Tim Robinson. This album featured "Something about the Beatles". Then in 2001 Pick Of The Crop and The Original Mr. Mick were released on Stackridge's own DAP Records. Mike and Jennie Evans were responsible for re-marketing the band, including setting up a website. There were infrequent live guest appearances by Mike 'Mutter' Slater. However, further turmoil within the band occurred as attempts to reunite the original band led to the Evans falling out with Warren, Walter and Slater as Davis came back to the fold; leading to Evans' departure and Slater's full-time return to the band.
2005 saw the release of the album Sex and Flags on Angel Air Records, a collection comprising many songs from 'Something for the Weekend', all six songs from the fan release only limited edition 'Lemon' CD in 2002, and two Andy Davis demo recordings. The album was the first since 1973 (apart from the 'Lemon' mini CD) to feature the core foursome of Warren, Davis, Walter and Slater.
A spring 2007 tour was announced featuring this line-up, along with additional musicians. A show at The Rondo Theatre, Bath, on 1 April 2007 was filmed for a DVD, released under the title Forbidden City (also available as a CD release). The band continued to perform during 2008.
Stackridge signed up with reissue experts Angel Air in 2005 and all their albums have the latest Angel Air CD/DVD catalogue numbers ascribed to them. All the CDs have extensive sleeve notes, pictures of memorabilia and bonus tracks and two, Mr Mick and Forbidden City are double CD sets.
In June 2010 it was announced that Mutter Slater had resigned from Stackridge. The stated reason was that, because of his full-time job, he could not always accept weekday bookings without taking a day out of his holiday entitlement. The announcement concluded "The rest of the band are very sorry to see him go, but will continue as a seven piece at least until the end of the year. Rehearsals will take place over the next two months to create a new direction, ready for Autumn/Winter gigs."
On 14 March 2011, the band performed live on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson performing "The Last Plimsoll".
In late 2014, Stackridge took a break from touring, and in early 2015 the band embarked on a UK tour as The Korgis. Around this time, the group announced that the last ever Stackridge tour would take place in Autumn 2015, called "The Final Bow", at Fiddlers Club in Bristol. They commented on Twitter: "We have decided that our Autumn Tour will be our last gigs. We don't want the gigs to be sad events but a celebration of all we have done".
Throughout their career, Stackridge have mainly stuck to a progressive rock sound, and have also explored and added elements of folk, power pop, and psychedelic rock. They have been described as a precursor to Britpop music.
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