Spooky Tooth

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Spooky Tooth
Origin Carlisle
Genres Hard rock, psychedelic rock, roots rock
Years active 1967–1970, 1972-74, 1998–1999, 2004, 2008-2009
Labels Island, CBS
Associated acts The V.I.P.'s/Art
Website spookytooth.co.uk
Past members Mike Harrison
Mike Kellie
Luther Grosvenor
Gary Wright
Greg Ridley
Andy Leigh
Chris Stainton
Henry McCullough
Alan Spenner
John Hawken
Steve Thompson
Mick Jones
Bryson Graham
Ian Herbert
Chris Stewart
Mike Patto
Val Burke
Joey Albrecht
Michael Becker
Steve Farris
Shem von Shroeck
Tom Brechtlein

Spooky Tooth was an English rock band principally active, with intermittent breakups, between 1967 to 1974. In recent years, the band has been reconstituted at various points,[1] and continues to perform occasionally.

Career[edit]

Crucial to their sound was their instrumentation; they were one of the relatively few rock acts of the time to adopt the twin keyboard approach (both an organ and a piano player).

They formed in October 1967, when Gary Wright joined the band Art. The band name Art only existed from April to October 1967. Art was renamed from The V.I.P.'s, as the name fitted better to the new musical direction taken on the album Supernatural Fairy Tales. Gary Wright held a significant role from the start. He wrote the majority of the first Spooky Tooth album, some even with record producer Jimmy Miller instead of band members.

The line-up changed several times, but typically was -

Gary Wright was introduced to the members of Art by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.[2]

1969's Spooky Two LP was the last album release by the original lineup. It included the song "Better By You, Better Than Me", which was covered by Judas Priest on their 1978 release Stained Class.

Ridley joined Humble Pie in 1969 and was replaced by Andy Leigh (in time for 1970's album Ceremony) who went on to Matthews Southern Comfort with ex-Fairport Convention vocalist Ian Matthews. The experimental nature of Ceremony received mixed reviews and following its release Wright also bowed out. The core of Harrison, Grosvenor and Kellie struggled on for one more album, The Last Puff, completed with friends from Joe Cocker's Grease Band, after which the band appeared in print ads for Birds Eye Pennsylvania Dutch style vegetables.

Singer Mike Harrison on stage with the band in the 1970s

They broke up after a European tour in the autumn of 1970 that was undertaken with a lineup of Harrison, Grosvenor, Kellie, keyboardist John Hawken (ex-Nashville Teens) and bassist Steve Thompson. However, after recording solo efforts, Harrison and Wright decided to reform Spooky Tooth in September 1972 with a different line-up. The best known member of these line-ups (from March 1973 to September 1974) was Mick Jones (guitar / vocals), later in Foreigner. From February — May 1974, Mike Patto (vocals) replaced Harrison for the 1974 release The Mirror. The group then split again in November 1974.[3]

Post-Spooky[edit]

Grosvenor later played with Stealers Wheel and, adopting the stage name Ariel Bender, with Mott the Hoople. He later founded the band Widowmaker, which was active in the 1970s. In 2005, he founded The Ariel Bender Band, with which he continues to perform on occasion.[4]

Kellie later joined The Only Ones, a respected rock and punk band that came to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s and, having reformed in 2007, continues to perform with substantially all original members.[5]

Ridley, who died in 2003, came to international prominence, particularly in the 1970s, as a member of Humble Pie.

Wright developed an international solo career, commencing in the 1970s, and had a hit with the radio-friendly "Dream Weaver".

Harrison, Grosvenor, Ridley and Kellie reunited at points in 1997 and 1998, which resulted in an album, Cross Purpose, released in 1999.

Harrison played and recorded with The Hamburg Blues Band, releasing an album, Touch, in 2002.[6]

Mike Harrison, Wright and Kellie reunited in 2004 for two concerts in Germany, resulting in a DVD release, Nomad Poets (2007).

In 2006 Harrison released his first solo album in over thirty years, Late Starter.

In February 2008 the latest incarnation of the band, featuring Harrison, Wright and Kellie, along with guitarist Steve Farris (ex-Mr. Mister) and Shem von Shroeck (bass), played a well-received series of European dates. On 29 May 2009 this same lineup (with drummer Tom Brechtlein replacing Kellie) played at Island Records 50th Anniversary at Shepherd's Bush Empire before playing some June German dates.

In June 2012 Mike Kellie was preparing to release his first solo album, ‘music from...The HIDDEN’.[7]

Band members[edit]


1967 - 1969

1969 - 1970

1970

1970

1972 - 1973[8]

1973 - 1974

1974

1998 - 1999

2004

2008

2009

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Compilations & Live[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • 1969 - "Feelin' Bad" US Bubbling Under #132

References[edit]

  1. ^ Such as in 1999, resulting in the release of Cross Purpose and in 2004, resulting in the 2007 release of Nomad Poets.
  2. ^ Uncredited, Spooky Tooth Official Biography; www.spookytooth.co.uk.
  3. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 270. CN 5585. 
  4. ^ See Ariel Bender Band Website; www.arielbenderband.com. Retrieved 09-06-25; site does not appear to have been updated beyond 2008.
  5. ^ See The Only Ones Website; www.theonlyones.biz
  6. ^ Profile of Mike Harrison and The Hamburg Blues Band; www.rufrecords.de
  7. ^ Exclusive interview with Mike Kellie; www.villagetimes.co.uk
  8. ^ For details of 1972-1974 band configurations, see Miguel Terol, Bryson Graham Biography; The Musicians' Olympus.

External links[edit]