Recorded 30 January 1971 – Oak single RGJ718
No relation to the late 60’s CBS/MGM group of the same name, this particular Factory were based around the talents of the Qunta brothers – Andy on lead vocals and acoustic twelve string guitar and Tony on lead guitar and electric violin, supported by a rhythm section of Geoff ‘Jaffa’ Peckham (bass) and Laurie Cooksey (drums). Andy and Tony had previously visited R.G.Jones, the owner of Oak Records, in October 1968 and March 1969 as prime movers in a school band called Perfect Turkey, who recorded an Oak acetate coupling ‘Stones’ and ‘Perfect Turkey Blues’. Factory recorded four songs – ‘Time Machine’, ‘Castle On The Hill’, ‘Mr. Jones’ (no relation) and ‘Road Sweeper Joe’ – in a three hour session on 30 January 1971, with the first two tracks issued as a single that sold out its limited pressing of 99 copies within a few weeks. With its science fiction-derived lyrics,prototipe heavy metal sound and harsh,metallic vocal (an extraordinary performance from Andy Qunta), ‘Time Machine’ eerily predicted David Bowie’s forthcoming album ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, although the opening chords were surely borrowed from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Green Manalishi’. During their lifespan, Factory attracted considerable interest within the music industry: their live performances were attended by such luminaries as Mickie Most, Robin Gibb, former Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell and Roger Daltrey, who was sufficiently impressed to invite the band to record at his home studio. By the time Factory shut down in 1976, Geoff Peckham had been replaced by Steve Kinch, who joined the Quntas in a new band called Head On. When this project fell by the wayside of 1979, Kinch and Andy Qunta played with Hazel O’ Connor before the bassist joined Manfred Mann’s Earthband in 1985. Tony Qunta has been a session guitarist since 1982, although he still finds time to lead a band called High Level Drive, whilst brother Andy had a six year spell with Australian group Icehouse, co-writing their hit single ‘Crazy’ and John Farnham’s anthemic ‘You’re The Voice’. One of Factory’s final gigs, incidentally, had featured a support set by a bunch malcontents bearing the unlikely name of the Sex Pistols. Within a matter of months, punk would seek to reverse the excesses of the progressive rock dinosaurs, signalling a return to three minute pop songs and more intimate live venues as well as a comprehensive demystification of the musical process. With punk inspiring media outrage to match coverage of the Stones’ emergence, ellied to the obvious generic antecedents provided by mid-1960’s R&B and garage bands, it genuinely appeared that, however fleetingly, the musical wheel had turned full circle.
Phil Gill …”With its science fiction-derived lyrics,prototipe heavy metal sound and harsh,metallic vocal (an extraordinary performance from Andy Qunta)…”. What great write-up – he’s right.
Glenn Piper… Oh the memories 🙂
Andy Qunta… Not sure what that “harsh metallic vocal” was all about! Maybe I was just trying to make up for the fact that I wasn’t playing an instrument, and wanted as much “air time” as poss!
Robert Blackham… Hi, am I right in thinking that Andy Qunta, Tony(or Mendy?)Qunta and Dick Bloom were Epsom College’s Velvet Hush band in 1969? “Broken Heart” and “Lover Please” were the songs on their Oak single. Bob Blackham (Epsom 67-72).
Geoff Peckham… I thought your band was called Perfect Turkey at Epsom, Andy and Tony?
Andy Qunta… We were originally Perfect Turkey, but we changed it to Velvet Hush later on.. Hi, Robert Blackham! How do you know about such things? And by the way, do you by any chance have a copy of Broken Heart/Lover Please? The latter is on the double album, Best of Oak Records, but none of us have a copy of Broken Heart, and haven’t heard it in decades!