Krzysztof's Music Site

Skin Alley

The band was formed in early 1969 by Thomas Crimble (bass), Giles Pope (drums) and Max Taylor (guitar) . The line up was completed by the addition of Krzysztof Juszkiewicz (Hammond) and Richard Thomas as Manager.

After a few gigs, Max Taylor decided that his career lay elsewhere and he was replaced by Bob James (guitar, alto sax and flute). Bob’s multi - talent expanded the band’s creative possibilities immensly and the band began to get noticed in the still buzzing live gig scene.

album1_1A recording contract was soon negotiated with CBS and the first album entitled "Skin Alley" was put out.  A track from this album, "Living in Sin" was included in one of the first compilation albums put out by Columbia records who, at that time, seemed to have a roster of the greatest American bands of the late sixties.  This was titled "Fill your head with Rock", and sold worldwide in the hundreds of thousands.
Skin Alley continued with their gigging schedule which included a large festival in France at Le Bourget airport in late ‘69.

A follow up album was commissioned and the band hired an out of season holiday cottage in Pagham, Sussex to compose and rehearse the new album which came out in 1970 entitled "To Pagham and beyond".  This work expanded the band’s repertoire considerably and live appearances included colleges, clubs and spontaneous festivals amongst others. By now it was being managed by the Notting Hill based management company "Clearwater" whose roster included Hawkwind, Trees, High Tide, Cochise, Bubastis, Camel and Arthur Brown.
Just as the second album was being mixed, Giles realised that his head was taking him in other directions and he left the band.  This was when Tony Brown, aka Tony Knight, of the legendary "Tony Knight's Chessmen" of the mid-sixties joined to play drums.  Soon after this, Thomas Crimble was seduced away to join Hawkwind and the band recruited Nick Graham who had recently been a member of Atomic Rooster with Carl Palmer and Vincent Crane.
The band continued producing new material, most of the writing and singing being taken on by Nick and Bob.

The new line up was galvanised into creative togetherness by being commissioned to compose and record two film scores for an Italian production company. This was an immense creative effort in a short space of time and further expanded the musical possibilities and created the means by which we could work collaboratively on new material.

Soon after this, the deal with CBS ran out and we had plenty of new material to present, so we participated in a production deal arrangement with Trident studios and recorded a fresh new album with the new band, which was produced by Roy Thomas Baker.  A bunch of students was doing the same thing at Trident and they then became known as Queen.

After playing at Glastonbury, a track from this album was used on the compilation album of participating bands, entitled "Revelations".  The rest of the album failed to get placed so we abandoned this arrangement and signed directly to the record label - Transatlantic.
The album that followed was recorded at Rockfield and entitled "Two Quid Deal". Somebody heard this in New York and liked it so much that a distribution deal was done with the legendary "Stax" records.  We were their first white British band ever and we were certainly gratified by their appreciation of our work.  The band had been signed purely on the basis of the music we were creating, a criterion routinely overlooked on the British music scene.

After a live gig and a TV show in Memphis, we were introduced to Don Nix who had just been doing work at Muscle Shoals and with the Joe Cocker entourage.  He was keen to produce our next album and agreed to come to England to do this.  Hence the misinformation that we were an anglo-american band, no we were not, if anything, we were an anglo-polish band!

The resultant album was "Skin Tight" which was recorded at Chipping Norton and was done in a direct almost live-recording style, at that time unusual in England. Musically it was close to the work of many of the American bands we admired and certainly a hemisphere away from our first albumalbum4.

After the release of this album we were forced to face the reality that there would be no money coming from our record deal and the live gig scene was going the David Bowie, Mott the Hoople and Marmalade way, so, reluctantly, we disbanded.


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