Aardvark – 1970

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supplied by Philip John Mott Road Crew Live

Philip John… As you probably know if you’ve ever been to one of our shows , Rich & I worked freelance for numerous bands before and after Mott the Hoople. One of the outfits we spent quite sometime with back in 1970 was Aardvark a prog rock band featuring Dave Skillin vocals, Stan Aldous bass, Frank Clark drums and Steve Milliner organ. If you check out the back cover there’s a tiny pic of us looking very Hairy ! We had some fun times with them and there’s a lot of stories to tell so here’s one of them.:- I got on pretty well with Dave the singer and he would often get me up to play tambourine (badly, if that’s at all possible) Well the band wanted to get the audience more involved and I came up with this great idea, or so I thought. After each gig I’d collect up all the empty drink cans lying around then take them home wash them out and seal them up with a handfull of dried peas inside them. I’d then paste labels on them with the immortal words ‘Shake Like Fuck’ scrawled on them.
At the next gig when it came time for me to join Dave on stage with my tambourine I came on dragging a sack of the SLK tins. i chucked 10 or more out to the front of the audience and they dutifully followed the directions on the labels of these make shift maraccas. Now filled with confidence I hurled the rest of the sack into the crowd . Within seconds a can came whizzing past my ear followed by a whole fusillade of them. Soon we were ducking and diving and throwing them back. The audience loved it but the music suffered and after a number of similar outings we dropped the idea. Mind you if you’re in a band and you need cheap maraccas…………..

Anthony Collins… Met one of the band members about 25yrs ago at my brothers (Mike collins) flat, and gave him my copy of their album(as he didn’t have one). I was given mine as one of college entertainments judges at the Lyceum ballroom London when they won a band contest. There were 13 students from all round uk colleges and two personality judges, Sandie Shaw and David Bowie. A great night with a great band.

Rockers & Roadies – Kino-Teatr · St Leonards. Friday 25th January 2019 at 7.30pm

Join ex-roadies Phil John and Crystal Taylor along with special guest Mick Bolton (ex-keyboard  player with Mott the Hoople and Dexy’s Midnight Runners) for an evening of tall tales and amusing anecdotes taken from their twenty or more years on the road in the 70s & 80s with numerous different bands including Mott the Hoople, Queen and David Bowie. Using period film clips and photographs they allow you an insiders view of what it was like to be front stage, back stage and behind the wheel at a time that many people consider to be ‘The Golden Age of Rock ’n’ Roll’. Hosted by Andy Gunton.

Tickets and more information… https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/593201

Competition time & results – David Bowie & Queen Live Aid from Philip John


supplied by Philip John

Philip John… Competition time ! Okay, Mott was the only band Queen ever played support to so we have a connection. Got this live Aid pic from Crystal the guy who replaced me as Rogers roadie all those years ago.
The living legend is pictured just behind Mr David Bowie (Official) in the sunglasses. Now if any one’s interested enough I’d like them to post a caption to this picture. We need to know what Roger’s saying to David. The writer of the best caption judged by me,Rich, Crystal & Andy will receive a signed copy of my diary ‘You Rocked,We Rolled’ the final Mott tour written way back in ’74.

mott book

Alan Esdaile… It could be … Keep smiling David, as they will be talking about this photo in 30 years time. or Looks like Bob’s about to bite a chunk out of Prince Charles’s shoulder.

Pete Fairless… Nah, he’s saying; “…ALMOST makes up for never having played Hastings Pier, doesn’t it, David?”

Colin Bell… Is Roger saying I think Di has spotted Camilla on backing vocals………….!

Pete Fairless…  She thought it was Camilla but, actually, it was Keef!

Eric Cawthraw… Here’s a couple for the caption comp: Roger to David: I know the band is loud – and no names, but I think a certain lady has farted!    Or: Roger: Hey David, Bob is asking His RH if he wants to join our new band, we’re changing our name from Queen to Prince. David: Nice one Rog, but I think someone else goes under that name!   Or: Roger: I think Di said to Charles that she doesn’t like Camellias parked in bowls. I have a filthy one, but not appropriate for the web-site, you’d need Private Eye’s lawyers! You could always ask John Storer for representation!

Philip John… Whoa ! over 2000 hits already + the Mott sites.. Reckon we’ll call it a day this Friday the 23rd. With so many captions to choose from and such high quality humour we thought we’d add 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes so keep the captions coming in . Should have the results on Monday.


supplied by Philip John

Matt Thomas… I think she’s wearing Harmony Hairspray – Roger to David .

Philip John… Okay, results for the captions competition.First place went to Brian Holquin whose caption truly captures the easily ruffled egos of our more sensitive stars. ( David to Roger : The one truly indispensable global icon,he said. Basically there could be no show without me.Roger: Bastard! Geldof told US the same thing.
2nd place went to Harry Moriarty, definitely got to be the basis for a tall tale there.
Roger: Don’t worry the Ziggy Stardust pants that you left in Mountain Studios are in an old Tesco bag behind the drum kit. You can pick them up later after you do your set.
And in 3rd place for a very polite English put down Christopher Turnbow.
Roger : David, would you mind bringing us some beverages ?
To Claim your prizes, either a copy of my diary ‘You Rocked We Rolled’ or a Mott Road Crew shirt as displayed here by the lovely Tessa , either send me your mailing address in a Message or e-mail it to < mottroadcrew@hotmail.com
I’d like to thank everyone who had a go at the caption and the four thousand + who stopped to check the photo out.



Strawbs story – 1974 by Philip John – Mott Road Crew Live


supplied by Philip John

Philip John… London Gardens,home of The London Knights Ice Hockey Team !
First time we’ve played in an ice rink. The line up for this show had been changed due to Queen having to drop out. The Strawbs were topping the bill as they were in the charts with ‘Part of the union’ followed by us then Blue Oyster Cult were opening. The Cult weren’t too happy about this as they’d just brought out their new album ‘Secret Treaties’ and the top track ‘Career of evil’ written by Patti Smith who was also the lead singers girlfriend at that time was getting a lot of radio play.
Anyway before we started the load in the staff covered the ice rink in straw mats. This stopped it being slippery but didn’t do much for the chill factor.Still everything went off OK and once the show started I headed off to check out BOC. Got to say they were a great heavy rock band with biker overtones. Eric the singer came on in full leathers cracking a 10 ft bull whip and they really got the crowd going. Mind you I couldn’t help but notice that once the hall filled up the place began to fill up with clouds of vapour and I wondered if the Cult had a dry ice machine back stage. On further investigation it turned out to be the ice floor warming up .
Mott went on next and went down a storm even though they were partly obscured by the clouds of moisture rising from the floor. I began to think we were rather lucky not to have been topping the bill that night. Blue Weaver who was currently sharing keyboard duties went back stage to catch up with the guys from the Strawbs, seemed he’d spent a few years on the road with them before he’d joined Mott. They were also getting a bit worried about the steaming ice but thought they’d go ahead and play anyway.
Well by halfway through their set they were almost totally invisible . Great clouds of vapour had enveloped the audience and the stage. Occasionally a spare hand or guitar neck would become visible soon to vanish leaving us with with this strange disembodied music floating through the mists.
When the show finished the management opened all the exits and the vapour clouds slowly dispersed. Fortunatly every one saw the funny side of this and as we all got paid there was no problems.
I believe The Stones also played this gig, can’t imagine they were as easy going as our lo

Mott Road Crew Live – The Carlisle Thur 18th Dec 2014


Thursday 18th December @ The Carlisle Mott Road Crew Live with even Taller tales featuring Queen / David Bowie (Official) and Mott The Hoople + The Ballad of Mott The Hoople one of the best Rock Documentaries of the last few years.With special guest Mick Bolton who will be playing live and contributing some of his own tall stories from his time as keyboard player with Mott and Dexy’s. AdvanceTicket details to follow shortly.

Phil John… The Carlisle Rock Pub is probably the leading Rock venue in Hastings which is why Mott Road Crew Live have chosen it for their next Hastings gig on the 18th December . As well as a full on discussion program about life on the road with members of Mott The Hoople and Queens road crew hosted by Andy Gunton from Pierless Music there will also be a screening of The Ballad of Mott The Hoople, one of the best rock documentaries of the last few years. The Crew will also be joined by local musician and ex Mott The Hoople keyboard player Mick Bolton who will contributing to the discussion and also playing a live music set. If you came to their last show at The Electric Cinema in the Old Town you’ll already know some of the tall tales and spinal tap moments that make up the show but don’t worry this is a whole new show with more emphasis on Queen and some interesting stories concerning Mr. Bowie and ‘ Ziggy Stardust’ plus a power point production full of photos taken whilst on tour. Three hours of vintage rock music history for £6.00, that’s the price of a pack of ciggies or two pints of beer . details of how to buy advance tickets will be on the Mott Road Crew Live Facebook page from the weekend onwards.

Chris Sambrook… You Rocked,We Rolled is an interesting read, an insight of a band on the road in the 70′s. 2 other books from the early to mid 70′s, worth a read are Diary of a Rock n Roll Star, Ian Hunter and a fictional book of a band called the Tale of Willy’s Rats by Mick Farren. Both books i have lost over the years. If anyone has a copy of both books, can i borrow them please.

Ticket information…..


Sheet music – supplied by Philip John


supplied by Philip John

Philip John… Do do do do dum dum dum do- do great opening riff, you know exactly what’s comeing next — with Cream: Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton at In my office, I’ve been hoarding this lot for years & thought it’s about time to share it. .

Mick Mepham…. About time too Philip! Great stuff….

Carol Ann Bolton… Jack Bruce has such a distinctive voice. I’ve always liked Cream from the first time I heard them.

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supplied by Philip John

David Bowie in the spotlight from Philip John


photo Philip John Mott Road Crew Live

Philip John… You’ve probably seen the much publicized photo of David going down on Micks guitar but this shots a Road Crew Original. It’s one of the few live shots I managed to get before I was sent up into ‘The Gods’ to run DB’s spotlight. With modern equipment like ‘Super Trooper’ portable spots the job was relatively straight foreward, the problems came when ‘The Artiste’ failed to take up his designated position at the mike which could lead to you opening the show on a blank space. Fortunately I have to say David was a total professional and was always in the right place at the right time. If I remember Mick Fussey was running Ronno’s light and we were both linked by headphones to Bob See the lighting director who was controlling all the stage lighting from down at the front. Bob would shout instructions to us for changing the coloured gels in the lights. for example: ( Bowie to red Ronno white, Bowie white head shot Ronno white on guitar neck and we’d flip the gels and and focus the lamps, screwing down the iris’s really tight, at the same time following them as they moved about the stage. Ronno kept Mick pretty busy as he moved around the stage a lot and there was considerable focusing on his guitar playing whilst I often had to follow David’s mime routines. The one i had to pay the most attention to was during ‘Width of a Circle’. Firstly i’d have to focus a small dot on his hands which he held tightly together then he would mime holding a small disc, slowly he would draw his hands apart as I widened the circle of light, we’d got to about a foot across and he’d snap his hands back together, at the same time I snapped my iris shut. Then the performance would be repeated and he would force the circle open until his arms were at full stretch then he would mime climbing through it and I would snap the circle shut behind him.
If you watch the Ziggy Stardust and The Spiiders from Mars concert on DVD you’ll see how it works.
However our biggest challenge was when we played some of the older theatres. Here we were truly stuck up in The Gods and the house equipment we were using was often pre-war. If you’ve ever seen the Italian Movie ‘Cinema Paradisio’ you’ll know what I mean.The spots were huge carbon arc lamps and enormously cumbersome and hard to focus but this wasn’t the main difficulty..
Now I’m not certain that my operating description here is 100% correct but how I remember it we used a foot long carbon rod that you wedged between two power points in the side of the lamp . When the power was on the carbon rod blazed away,literally, sparks showering everywhere, if that wasn’t bad enough I think they only blazed for around 20 minutes then you had to knock them out of the holder and ram another one in its place. This meant you had to time it so that the change over could be done between numbers when the stage was black. I’m going to check with Mick Fussey and hopefully he’ll add a few observations of his own. Often the best effects are the simplest, a good example was in the encores. After ‘Waiting for my man’ David woud roll straight into ‘Velvet Undergrounds white Light, White Heat’ by this time the audience were all on their feet going fucking crazy and Bob would scream over the headphones ‘All lights to white full beam !’ and we’d drop out our coloured gels and just flood the stage with pure light.
This was the only time the carbon arcs came into their own, they were immensely powerful and gave a truly dramatic effect.
Probably got a few more pic’s and tales left from the tour but right now I need to relax. We’ll be back……

Mott The Hoople – The Boots Story by Philip John


supplied by Carol Ann Bolton


supplied by Philip John

Philip John…..Back in the day we experienced great problems zipping Pete into his boots. They were an extremely tight fit and he had to lay on his back whilst we pulled the zips up over his jeans. This was made even more difficult because the small tags on the zips were really difficult to grip. Finally i came up with the brilliant idea to fit split rings to the tags,much easier to pull on. This worked well for the first few gigs then one night i was in my usual position behind the drums when i spotted Pete gesticulating furiously to me and pointing to his crotch area then I noticed he was moving round the stage with tiny steps like some kind of bizarre geisha girl. Oh shit I thought his boots were stuck together with the split rings. I dashed over to him ,dropped to my knees and with a small torch clamped in my teeth began to wrestle with the rings as he wriggled furiously to get his legs apart. Well you can imagine what this looked like from the audience’s point of view. Finally I tore the rings apart and staggered to my feet torch still firmly gripped between my teeth then to a huge round of applause I returned to my position behind the drum riser.

Philip John with the Mott van 1969/1970


supplied by Philip John

Philip John…..This is Big Red, Mott’s first van with me on the bonnet. Photo taken outside my Mum’s house in Cheshunt late ’69 early 70’s.

Second photo…Philip & Rich with the US lighting crew in L.A. ’72.

Pete Prescott…..Im reading his book.I love it.everything you would have wanted to do.travel with a great band.there is a poster of a venue in Zuric I played at a few times.if you have a chance read it !

Carol Ann Bolton…..That chap looks familiar. Wonder whatever happened to him? 🙂


Mott The Hoople Crew & gear for Hunter Ronson tour 75


supplied by Philip John

Philip John….It seems it wasn’t just the Mott crew crammed into an old VW van . Even Sir Mick & the Stones toured in one. Cutting from The Independent newspaper las week.

mick jagger


Philip John…..Just found some add ons for the Hunter-Ronson USA tour. Back in ’75 you could have bought the back line for £9,108 !


supplied by Philip John