Flash (band)

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Not to be confused with Flash, a cover band from San Antonio, Texas, that featured Christopher Cross.
Flash
Origin London, England
Genres Progressive rock
Years active 1971–1973, 2010–present
Labels Sovereign, Capitol, Voiceprint, Friday Music
Website www.psychosync.info
Past members Peter Banks
Colin Carter
Ray Bennett
Mike Hough

Flash is an English progressive rock group, formed by former Yes guitarist Peter Banks and vocalist Colin Carter in August 1971. Bassist Ray Bennett and drummer Mike Hough completed the line-up.[1]

Early career[edit]

The band went into the recording studio in November 1971 to record its debut album, and performed its first gig on 14 January 1972. Coincidentally, exactly one year later, on 14 January 1973, Flash would fill New York's Philharmonic Hall.

There is some controversy over whether fellow ex-Yes member, keyboardist Tony Kaye, who appeared on the first Flash album, was actually an "official" member of the group, or merely a guest. The confusion stems from the fact that Kaye is listed alongside the other members of the group on the back cover. Interviews with all the parties confirm that, though Kaye was invited to join he declined, and should have been cited as a guest on the first album. He went on to found Badger in 1972. Other potential keyboard players were approached or auditioned at the time, including Ian McDonald (formerly of King Crimson), Rick Wakeman (soon to join Yes) and Patrick Moraz (also a future member of Yes), but eventually the band decided to carry on as a keyboard-less quartet, with Carter handling the occasional synthesizer part.

Flash had a minor hit with "Small Beginnings" (1972, No. 28 Billboard Hot 100 chart) which was featured in the movie, Record Review. The song "Small Beginnings" has also been included in numerous compilation albums, most recently Bob Stroud's Rock 'n Roll Roots, Vol. 10.[2]

The band released three albums, Flash (1972), In The Can (1972 Nov.) and Out Of Our Hands (1973 Summer).

Flash were signed with Sovereign, a sub-label of Capitol Records and received support from the label, who were hoping for a similar level of success to other progressive rock bands such as ELP or Yes. The debut LP sold in excess of 100,000 copies. They toured North America a total of four times, and Continental Europe (Holland, Belgium and Germany) once, in early 1972, while regularly playing gigs in their native UK, including a joint tour with Beck, Bogert & Appice in 1973. Flash also did a brief tour of Australia, while making their third album. At the insistence of Capitol, the third album was released under the name Flash - featuring England's Peter Banks, to avoid a legal challenge from another local band named "Flash", and to capitalise on the interest generated by Banks' solo album Two Sides Of Peter Banks which was released almost concurrently.

Flash disbanded during an American tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico in November 1973. At this point relationships inside the band had soured, particularly between Banks and the rest of the band. It was suggested that the band find a replacement for Banks and carry on. They decided to stick it out because of their excellent musical chemistry, but in the end, ever-increasing tensions resulted in the band's abrupt demise.

Flash after 1973[edit]

In the years following the band's breakup, the musicians kept working together in various combinations.

Bennett and Carter tried to start another band, eventually joined by Hough, with keyboard player Chris Pidgeon and ex-Flaming Youth member Gordon Smith on guitar, later replaced by Barry Paul (ex-Savoy Brown). After playing what turned out to be its only gig at London's Marquee Club, the band (unofficially named Blaze) settled in New York, but failed to secure a record deal (its management having turned down several offers hoping for a better one to turn up) and broke up. Just after this, Carter and Hough were part of another band in NYC, Storm, with New York keyboardist Al Greenwood. This band also failed to launch and Greenwood ended up in the much more successful Foreigner. Ray Bennett was invited to join Foreigner on bass as the band was forming, but declined.

In 1975, Banks invited Bennett to join him in a new project with Sidonie Jordan [aka Sydney Foxx] (vocals) and Andrew McCulloch (drums, formerly of King Crimson and Greenslade). Initial rehearsals in London led to a demo recording, but despite the help of Pete Townshend and Robert Stigwood, Banks failed to secure a deal. Later, Bennett recorded another demo with Jordan and McCulloch, but without Banks.

In 1976, Bennett was briefly a member of Banks' new project, Empire, again featuring Jordan, but the reunion was short-lived.

In the early 1980s, with all ex-Flash members now based in Los Angeles, a reformation was attempted but failed to take off. Banks and Bennett kept playing together informally until they fell out again.

A 1997 release, Psychosync, compiled a live recording made in 1973 for a WLIR radio broadcast as well as their two songs performed on The Midnight Special TV show.

A 2013 release, Flash In Public, a live recording from a 1973 concert at Kansas City’s Cowtown Ballroom, was being prepared by Peter Banks at the time of his death ,[3] but without the authorization, participation or permission of the band.

More recently, Bennett and Carter have been working together again under the Flash name (Hough was initially involved but later dropped out, and there was, briefly, talk of Banks taking part but, in the end, Banks fell out again with Bennett and Carter and was excluded).

Bennett (now on lead guitar) and Carter played together as a duo under the Flash name at the 2005 Baja Prog Festival in Mexico.[4][5][6]

Bennett and Carter posted new Flash material on the flash/bennettcarter MySpace website in July, 2009.[7] Titles of the new songs are "Grand Canyon," "How The West Was Won" (later changed to "Into the "Sun") and "10,000". Videos of the reunited Flash can be found on YouTube.

In addition to the new material, Flash posted rehearsal videos of original Flash songs released on earlier albums. These include "Children of the Universe" from the debut album "Flash," and "Manhattan Morning" from the third album Out of our Hands.

On 31 August 2010, the full band made their first public appearance since the breakup, a "live dress rehearsal" in preparation for an upcoming mini-tour. It took place at The E-String Bar in Henderson, Nevada, just southeast of Las Vegas. The lineup consisted of Colin Carter (vocals), Ray Bennett (guitar, vocals), Wayne Carver (bass, vocals), Mark Pardy (drums), and Rick Daugherty (keyboards).

Flash made their official reunion debut headlining the International ProgDay Festival in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on 4 September 2010. Peter Banks' passing in March 2013 ironically occurred just before the May 2013 scheduled release of the first Flash album in forty years, "Flash Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter"/Cleopatra Records. It was reported that Banks heard three of the tracks from the upcoming album before his sudden death and liked them, especially the band's first recording of a cover tune, NIN/Trent Reznor's "Hurt."

"Flash Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter" was greeted globally with almost unanimous good reviews and airplay—a welcome comeback. The group plans to tour and continue recording.

Discography[edit]

Year Album US Top 200
1972 Flash 33
In the Can 121
1973 Out of Our Hands 135
1997 Psychosync (live performances US radio/TV)
2013 Flash Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter
2013 In Public (live performance, Kansas City, January 21, 1973)

Singles[edit]

Year Name US Hot 100
1972 Small Beginnings 28
Lifetime -

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Perfect Sound Forever: The Flash story". Furious.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  2. ^ Wdrv.com[dead link]
  3. ^ Last Word from Peter Banks "FLASH--in Public" a Live Recording
  4. ^ "LET IT ROCK - Ray BENNETT interview". Dmme.net. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  5. ^ "LET IT ROCK - Flash At Baja Prog special". Dmme.net. 2005-04-02. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  6. ^ Moonjune.com[dead link]
  7. ^ "FLASH | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Myspace.com. 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 

External links[edit]