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Churchill’s, Jericho Jones & beyond interview with Robb Huxley and Danny Shoshan

December 23, 2012

Churchill’s, Jericho Jones & beyond interview with Robb Huxley and Danny Shoshan

This is our gift for you guys. We wish you
Happy Holidays! As you see we made an interview with two members of amazing
Churchill’s, that formed back in 1965 in Tel Aviv. They later became Jericho
Jones and then just Jericho. Churchill’s released an amazing psych rock album
back in 1968. Then came Jericho Jones with two hard rocking LP’s. Here is
complete story of their guitarist Robb Huxley (he is actually 4th cousin of the
famous writer Aldous Huxley). We manage to get a few words also from Danny
Shoshan who was the vocalist of the group. We didn’t talk just about these two
bands, but about the Israelian psych scene, Huxley’s joining the Joe Meek’s
favourite “Tornados” and many more. So once again have a wonderful
time. We love you and appreciate your support!
Interview:
Thank you for taking your time, Robb and
Danny. I would firstly like to talk about your childhood. Where were you born
and what were some early influences?
Robb: I was born in Gloucester England on
December 4th 1945. I am a 4th cousin to the famous writer Aldous Huxley who was
well known for his novels Brave New World, a novel of the future and The Doors
of Perception which was written as an account of his experimentation with
psychedelics. This is where the band the Doors got their name. At around the age of 14 I became mesmerized
by the new live rock shows that we being televised on the BBC on Saturday nights.
These shows were The Six Five Special, Oh Boy and Drumbeat. They were live
shows and the artists that inspired me were Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Marty
Wilde and Adam Faith. A few years later I was actually backing some of those
artists when I played in the Tornados. 
My first American inspirations came from Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and
the Everly Brothers. Buddy Holly was the most important influence as I actually
taught myself to play guitar from listening to his records.
Robb aged 14
Danny: My musical background starts back in the sixties when I bought my first
Hofner guitar; the one I was looking at for weeks and months in a window of the
local musical shop and fell in love with until I’ve saved enough money and with
the help of my dear father finally went to that musical store and got it, then
my dreams became real for me!
I’ve started learning to play with the help
of the best classical guitar player in Tel Aviv – Efraim Polack who himself was a
student of the great Spanish flamenco guitar player Andre Segovia who was the master of flamenco in those days, he after two years  promised me to go on tour with him, no plans
for a rock’n’roll future yet back then!
In the mid sixties 65/66 started to listen
to the Shadows with Hank Marvin and really was moved all over by the guitar
sound they’ve produced and the precision of the total huge sound by them! In
those days I had a friend in my neighborhood. Eli was his name who was playing
kind of rhythm guitar so naturally I’ve started playing the lead part of the
Shadows music like Apache, FBI, Frightened city and many more… We’ve started
to make a little name for ourselves and got invited to play in local parties
and small events we were just the two of us first and later on got more member
to joining us and became a 4 members. Myself on lead guitar my friend Eli
switched to bass guitar, a keyboard player Yossi and a drummer named Freddy so
my very first real band came alive and started in 67/68 and even got a name
“The Diamonds” yeah a real shiny name. 
Wow, that was awesome! We only
played instrumental guitar music till much later that I’ve discovered I could
sing too but by then I started falling in love with the bass sound and bass
guitar really strongly then my first real influence and model to my next music
love and next step to my carrier was no other then Paul McCartney. So I got
myself together and determined to study the bass guitar and practice to play
the bass and sing and that’s what I did. Sat down in my private room at my
parents place and practiced for a couple of years and really in those times
they were not really many musicians who could sing and play bass it was quiet
unique so my reputation started spreading around about this young kid who can
play the bass and sing…
Apart from being in love and very much
influenced by British pop and rock music and certainly American rock’n’roll
music like Chuck Berry, the soul style of The Temptations and Otis Reading. I loved as well and had a special ear and love for harmonies style singing and my
favorite band was then “The Beach Boys” especially the track
“Good Vibrations”. That was a killer as far as I’m concern a
masterpiece of all times and of course listening to all this kind of music made me
different then a typical Israeli musician singer who is supposed to sing local
Israeli songs and Hava Nagila you know ha ha ha…
Anyway all of those styles of music I loved
and learned to sing and play the bass
part as well and figured out the harmonies, but equally on top of all that
there was another kind of music I’ve heard at my parents home from young age. That was oriental music. My parents were listening at home somekind of North African music with beautiful rhythms and amazing sounds
and very interesting musical progression. I learned to love totally different
from European music I knew and understood. All of that
mixture of sounds and styles of music helped me create my own style and sound
in my own music that I wrote much later in my career and helped me express my inner vision of musical creativity rock – blues with oriental riffs played on
rock blocks played on electric guitars.
The next time you listen to Jericho I’m
sure you’ll recognize the musical elements I’m talking about.
Anyway back to the previous subject, there
was a band in Israel we all rock and pop lovers in those days 1967/8 loved very
much called “The Princes” and sometimes in weekends we musicians got
together and went to see them perform in a bar downtown in Nathania city or in
a kind of club down the beach about 30
km from Tel Aviv. They were really the best band around in that time we admired them very much.
So
once in awhile I used to go and see them and enjoy them very much until one
day much to my surprise I got a phone call from the lead singer of the band, Shmulik asking me if I was free from any obligations, of course I replied and
asked for the reason of that question and he answered: “We, actually the whole band had a meeting
and decided to ask you to join the band as the bass player and vocalist”. Cos their bass player decided moving to Denmark
going over there for an unlimited time…
Can you imagine how I felt? It’s like being
asked to join the Beatles!!!
I spent about 3 years with The Princes; the best years of my musical developments and we did some amazing things
together. After a year together we decided we were good enough to move and try
our luck in Europe, Germany and two weeks later after landing in Hamburg looking for a place to play… 
We want to make just enough money to survive
and at least being able to eat!!! Unbelievable surprise came to bus. Our manager
came back to the hotel where we stayed and gathered us and he gave us the news: “We got a contract as a house band for 3 month in “Star Club”
Hamburg, the best club in town where the Beatles got famous in 1965; a hall of
rock to all British band like Cream, Dave Dee Dozy Mike and Tich, Jimi Hendrix
came over to perform in Star Club on one of the weekends and we the Princes were
his support band…Amazing experience I will carry my whole life and the greatest
gift of all played with him on the same stage talked to him and even took a
photo with him!
Star-Club Hamburg: from right to left
Dannny, Emil, Hendrix,Shmulik, Clara and below Yuda and Molcho.
Danny was also part of The Lions of Juda and later just The Lions. 
Robb I know you were in many bands
before ‘Churchill’s’. ‘Robb Gayle & The Whirlwinds’, ‘The Saxons’, ‘The
Tornados and Purple Ass Baboon’. What’s the story behind ‘The Whirlwinds’ and
‘The Saxons’?
Robb: The first band I ever played in was
the Vendettas which consisted of piano drums and guitar. We had no bass player
and I was the singer. 
Robb Huxley first appearance 1963.
We played in the Forest Of Dean in Gloucestershire at a
pub called the Courtfield Arms. Below is an excerpt from my website which tells
how I joined the Whirlwinds and became Robb Gayle.
Robb Gayle & Whirlwinds (Newent Memorial Hall)
Well, Sunday night came and we were playing
our usual gig to a full house. During the break three guys came up to me and
introduced themselves as Roger and Peter Holder with their older brother Mick
who was their manager. They told me that they had a band called the Whirlwinds,
that they had the same gear as the Shadows, Fender guitars and Vox amps, and
that their singer Max Swift had recently quit the group. They asked me if I
would like to come to a practice session. I was quite impressed with their story,
especially the part about the gear. I figured if they could afford Fender
guitars they must be pretty good. They bought me a pint of cider and I agreed
to go along to the practice the next week.
Roger Holder picked me up at 7 o’ clock
that Tuesday outside of Moreland’s match factory which was on the Bristol Road
near to where I lived. He had a minivan and showed up with his girlfriend. I
had to sit in between them on the emergency brake as there were only two seats
in the front of the van. Roger was a real fast driver and we soon got to Newent
and shortly to Dymock. We turned into a small country lane at John Devereux’s
house and followed it until we came to a farmhouse called the Welsh House.
Adjacent to that building was an old barn and as we got out of the car I could
hear faint sounds of electric guitars and drums. 
The Whirlwinds  with change of drummer: Pete Awford (vocals
and rhythm guitar), Brian Peachey (drums), Roger Holder (bass), Robb Huxley
(vocals and guitar) and Pete Holder circa 1964.
We entered the room and sure
enough there were the Vox A.C. 30’s and Fender Strats. Roger introduced me to
rhythm guitarist Pete Awford and drummer Brian Peachey. Brian, I recognized at once
as he had attended the same school as me but was a little older. Of course Pete
Holder was there and he played lead guitar on a custom left handed Strat. Mick
Holder the manager and younger brother Derek were also there. We decided to
start with How Do You Do It by Gerry and the Pacemakers, followed by various
numbers by Cliff Richard, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. I remember we also did
This Time by Troy Shondell and Please Please Me by the Beatles. Having got
these songs down everyone was pleased with the way things sounded and I was
asked if I would join the band as lead singer. I was happy to accept their
offer and agreed to join, explaining that I would have to honor a few gigs with
the Vendettas if that was ok with them. That was no problem so we went on to
discusses the format of the band. The Whirlwinds played a lot of instrumentals
such as Apache, by the Shadows, Telstar and Riding the Wind by the Tornados and
Pete Awford also sang a few numbers, so it was agreed that I would come on to
do the other vocals after they had played the opening numbers. We also talked
about getting me a special shiny suit to wear. All in all the first rehearsal
went along very well. Later that night as I got into bed in the little back
bedroom in Clegram Road I thought to myself “What name goes with the
Whirlwinds? I knew for sure that Huxley wouldn’t fit but just as I was drifting
off to sleep; it popped into my head, Gale, no Gayle, yes Robb Gayle and the
Whirlwinds.
Saxons – High Street, Easter
The Saxons were just a continuation of the
Whirlwinds and the name change was suggested by Joe Meek at one of our early
recording sessions with him. See the excerpt below of how it happened…….
At the end of the session we sat around
talking with Joe and the conversation got around to discussing the possibility
of what might happen if we had a record released. Joe said that if we got a hit
we would all have to leave our jobs and move up to London and play as
professionals, and wanted to know if we would do this. Of course we all said
that we would, although we felt a little concerned about Brian Peachey our
drummer as he had a good job and may not have wanted to take a chance. Joe said
that we may have to think about changing the name of the band as he thought
that Robb Gayle and the Whirlwinds sounded like they could be a skiffle group.
We tried to come up with a few names but nothing sounded exciting until we
found out that the Holder brothers had traced their family tree back hundreds
of years and discovered that they were descendants of the Vikings from Scandinavia.
One of their ancestors had actually founded the place known as Holderness on
the east coast of England. We thought about the Great Danes, the Norwegians,
and suddenly someone mentioned the Saxons, which sounded very appealing. We
thought it was a good choice as the current trend with bands was to have names
like the Beatles, the Hollies, and the Searchers so we decided to become the
Saxons. Joe said that he would pay for us to get some sharp stage suits made
and that we should have our hair bleached blond. In fact he insisted that the
next time we would come to record we should all be blond. So that was the end
of Robb Gayle and the Whirlwinds. We were now to become an all blond band
wearing Beatle style suits, writing new songs based around Saxon themes and
stories of the old days and even maybe wearing authentic Saxon clothing on
stage, complete with helmets and horns!
You were a part of legendary ‘Tornados’.
What do you remember from recording and playing with this group? You changed
the name to ‘The New Tornados’.
Robb: Joe Meek came up with the name  The New Tornados  but we were never billed as the New Tornados
we were always called The Tornados. There are far too many stories connected to
what it was like to record and play with the Tornados but I have selected some
excerpts from the Tornados story to give some idea to your readers.
  We
all met up at the studio to run through our new cabaret act for Joe to listen
to. Dave sat at the Lowry organ, Roger, Pete and me stood in front of our amps
each with a microphone that Joe had set up for us and John was over in the
corner at his drum set peering out from behind the screens. We began to perform
but Joe stopped the set and put his head around the door and said “What
about the comedy?” At that point we started the comedy routine and played
it through. At the end of the routine Joe virtually burst into the room with
the biggest smile on his face, actually laughing out loud and clapping his
hands with utter joy. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Any time that Joe burst
into a room you never knew if he was going berserk and would scream and shout
at you or what! We knew that we had pleased Joe and could all relax. We all
felt good knowing that Joe felt good. Joe then proceeded to run downstairs to
call up Harry Dawson at the George Cooper Organization to arrange for Harry to
come over and see our cabaret act.
The Tornados. Left to right: Pete Holder,
Dave Watts, John Davies, Robb Huxley and Roger Holder
circa 1966.
On the day of the audition Harry Dawson
came over and sat in front of us up in the studio smoking his pipe and watched
our complete cabaret act. At the completion Harry smiled at us saying
“Very nice, boys” and went to talk with Joe in the control room. They
appeared shortly with smiles on their faces and after Harry Dawson left Joe
congratulated us telling us that Harry was very pleased with the set and that
he would start to book us on the night club and working men’s club circuit up
in the north of England. These venues usually ran for a week at a time. When we
arrived at the working men’s club in Greasbrough, which in Old Saxon language
means Grass or Grassy brook we found a hive of activity outside the entrance.
As we approached the old guy that was on the gate directing the traffic asked
“Are you artists, luv?” We were amazed by this as we had never been
called “love” by a man before and found it quite amusing but soon got
used to it in this new “Foreign Land” that we were exploring. The
club had a large seating capacity inside but I remember the stage as being a
bit on the small side. We set up our gear and made sure that everything was in
good working order and went on to find a place to stay. We found rooms at some
old Gothic looking hotel on the main street and were given some very good Northern
hospitality such as tea and sandwiches by the proprietor and his wife. As it
was a Sunday we did our show in the late afternoon. The place was hopping when
we arrived and was full to capacity and the pints of Newcastle Brown were being
downed with great fervor. We got dressed up in our new mod gear and took the
stage to perform our first cabaret show. We ran through the Tornados hits and
played “Pop Art Goes Mozart” together with our comedy routine and a
few vocal numbers. In the middle of one of the vocals, some guy jumped up on
the stage and grabbed my mike shouting “Stop, stop”. Thinking that
there was some kind of emergency we immediately ended the number while the guy
shouted into the microphone “Hot pies are now being served!” He then
calmly handed the mike back to me saying “Thanks luv”. We all stood
staring at each other with complete disbelief not quite knowing what to do. We
had never been interrupted in the middle of a set before and we all found it
embarrassing. Dave just counted the number in and we played it again wondering
when the next interruption might come. Well we got to finish the set and we got
a good reception from the audience. We got requests for an encore but not
having anymore material that was suitable for cabaret we just played “Telstar”
again. We stayed around to watch Kathy Kirby’s performance and she went over
very well. The audience loved her and she received great applause when she
performed her string of hits
Joe called us up to the studio one morning
to tell us that it was time for us to put out a record and that he wanted to
show us how we were to go about it. He said that he wanted to do a classical
piece of music for the next Tornados release, He invited us into his living
quarters where we sat down on Joe’s old creaky sofa which when you sat down on
it your knees came up to your chin. Joe stood with his back to us and put on a
disc of a movement by Mozart. As the music played Joe clicked his heels and
jerked his head in time to the music. We were in a state of surprise and things
really got bad when Dave, unseen by Joe, stood up just inches behind him and
frantically pretended to conduct the orchestra. This forced us into a state of
almost not being able to contain our laughter and at the end of the piece when
Joe turned around to see our reaction nobody knew what to do with themselves.
We just hoped and prayed that he would say something funny so that we could
release the laughter that was bursting to escape from us, but he didn’t, so we
all had to straighten up quickly. Joe proceeded to say that we should get some
ideas from this piece, and take the gear up to our flat and create a new
instrumental based on key parts of the song. We were all concerned about what
we thought that Joe wanted to achieve. We had heard this Mozart piece a few
times and with only the memory of this we were supposed to come up with a piece
of music. “Don’t worry lads” Dave assured us “I know what Joe
likes” and we went on led by Dave to create this classical sounding
instrumental based on something that Joe had played us by Mozart. We created it
up at our flat in Holloway Road but the session ended when the Irish family
that lived upstairs knocked on the door warning us that if we didn’t shut up
that they would call the police. Anyway to us it sounded like Joe would be
pleased with it but we were wrong again
The following morning we all met up at the
studio and got ready to record. Joe hooked everything up and said “O K
play it for me” This was tough for us as we could hardly remember what we
had done the day before. Anyway we got into it when about half way through the
recording he turned off the machine, walked into the studio with his hand in
the air, “No, no, no, that’s not what I meant” he proclaimed and led
us back downstairs to listen to the Mozart record again. He played us a few
specific parts saying that we should incorporate them into the tune. “You
play this part first and then go into this part and follow it by this part and
that’s it” Joe explained. With Dave’s leadership we got the main parts
rehearsed. He perfected the melodies and helped us work out the chords and the
bass lines. At one point in the 
recording Dave complained that due to the bad action on the piano he was
not able to play a certain part correctly and was stumbling over some of the
notes. If only he could play it slower it would be easier. With Joe’s expertise
he slowed down the speed of the tape so that Dave could play the melody line an
octave lower at a much slower speed. Pete also played a lead part but at the
normal register. This was all done on the second tracking. When we heard the
play back, the piano part sounded great as it had adopted a special sound .Also
Pete’s guitar which was recorded slowly at normal register on a tremolo affect
now sounded an octave higher resembling a mandolin Joe was obviously delighted
with the results together with the praising that he got from the band, mainly
Dave. “If anybody asks you how you got the sound on the keyboard tell them
you used a Splatter Board Joe announced with a big smile on his face. Joe also
had John Davies turn his bass drum over flat on the floor so it resembled a
timpani drum. He loaded it with echo and had John beat on it throughout the
piece in certain passages that Joe selected. We even put in the typical last
verse, Tornados style vocal backing track. In the end Joe had created the
typical Tornados single with the typical “Joe Meek” sound, receiving
credit as writer, Trad. Arranged Meek; which was exactly what he wanted. Using
a band of musicians and using their ability to provide a way to create what he
felt and heard in his mind, Joe Meek created “Pop Art Goes Mozart”.
Joe Meek was amazing. How do you remember him?
Joe Meek at the control panel in his
studio.
Photo by David Peters
Robb: I am able to give some insight as to
what Joe Meek was like as a person. When I played with Robb Gayle and the
Whirlwinds and Saxons and then the New Tornados I was involved with Joe for
over two years. During that time I only ever saw Joe one time outside of the
studio environment. That was when he made his yearly pilgrimage to Cinderford
where he helped to raise funds for a facility for mentally handicapped
children. He was accompanied by his mother who was partially crippled with
arthritis. As the Tornados we performed at the function. It was a very happy
occasion and Joe was very much liked and appreciated by everyone. He brought
numerous records and items of interest that were either sold or raffled off in
aid of the charity. He also arranged for us to play at the Aberfan Disaster
charity event which was held in Cardiff. For those who do not know The Aberfan
disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a colliery “slag heap” on October
21st 1966 which completely destroyed Pantglas junior school along with a farm
and twenty terraced houses. Altogether 116 children and 28 adults were killed.
At the charity function we as the Tornados became acquainted with the infamous
Kray twins and Ronnie Kray first became interested in stealing us away from
Joe. When Ronnie was told that we were under contract to Joe Meek he told us
“Don’t worry we’ll take care of him.” Joe also paid for our group van to be
repaired and bought our stage clothes for us. He always told us to be good to
people and help whoever you can and it will come back to you in goodness.  As to his temperament, the only time I ever
saw a violent out break from him was after our first ever show as the Tornados
when he called us to the studio and went mad because our keyboard player Dave
Watts refused to play the Clavioline keyboard (that was used to record
Telstar). He had a screaming fit and hurled a tray with a coffee pot and cups
and saucers at the wall and stormed out slamming the door. There were probably
only one or two other minor incidents apart from that. The rest of the time he
was friendly, pleasant, polite and patient. We were always polite and courteous
and he told us that he liked us and that we were not like many of the assholes
that he was involved with.  It didn’t
matter how good a musician you were, if Joe didn’t like you he’d just get rid
of you. Joe gave us our break into show biz when he called us to leave our jobs
in Gloucester and Newent and become the New Tornados. We weren’t the greatest
musicians Joe just made it happen because he liked us.  
L to R: John Davies, Robb Huxley, Pete
Holder, Dave Watts, Roger Holder.
Let’s move forward with your career.
‘The New Tornados’ had a last tour and it was in Israel. What happened there
and what was the reason to stay there.
Robb: After a 6 weeks tour of Israel, in
February 1968 the last reincarnation of Joe Meek’s Tornados came to an
end. 
We had been offered more work in Israel but
the Bass player and drummer declined to stay and returned to England.
Keyboardist Dave Watts and I decided to stay because we thought that it would
be a nice change to play in a warm and sunny climate for a while, get a
different look at the music business in a foreign country and have a steady
income.
‘Purple Ass Baboon’ was the first thing
you started while being in Israel. What’s the story behind it?
Robb: Purple Ass Baboon was like a band aid
for me which helped me survive until I was able to join the Churchills.
Left to right Yaki Yosha, Robb Huxley, Moti
Levi.
“Window shoppers can’t be found,
Nor will the Junkie Pimp be ’round,
As one might have guessed,
The street has been cleaned up,
There have been some big arrests,
The people tread to water pipes,
And pipes of snow white glass,
And hair is never found upon,
That Baboon’s Purple Ass”.
 Stan Solomon.
1968. Tel-Aviv Israel.
Dave
said that Haim Saban (The Lions manager) wanted to talk to us and we met him
down at café Noga which was where all the managers and promoters gathered along
with an array of musicians and performers. When we got into the conversation
Saban revealed that he very much wanted Dave to join the Lions. He explained
that Dave had told him that unless Robbie could come too, he wouldn’t be interested.
Saban went on to say that he had no problem with my performing abilities but in
order for me to join he would have to let somebody go from the group and that
was not possible. However he did tell me that he did have an opportunity for me
in that another person was interested in putting together a band with me and a
couple of Israeli musicians. His name was Shimon Feldman known colloquially as
Gingie. He was the owner of the Cocos club and I had actually seen him a few
times when we had played there. Saban felt that I could get paid about the same
as we were supposed to be making every week with the Tornados whether the band
worked or not. It turned out to be a weekly wage of 160 Israeli Lira which was
equal to 20 pounds Sterling. When I asked about the musicians, Saban said that
they were from a band called the Monsters and that they had played with us in
Nazareth and that their guitarist and singer had quit the band. I then
remembered the kids and how I felt that they were somehow a little different,
but at the same time I had serious reservations of playing with a couple of
sixteen year old kids who were not that great as musicians but still had
something about them that showed promise. It looked like Dave was going to join
the Lions anyway, so I began to realize that I didn’t have much of a choice. I
told Saban that I would think about it although I knew inside that I was most
likely going to go along with it.
When I told Stan the news about my offer
and deal he was ecstatic. “Now” he said “you can stay in Israel
and make enough money to live on and as soon as Selwyn and Churchill get called
up for their service in the army I’ll get you into the Churchills”. A few
days later I met Gingie along with Yaki and Moti from the Monsters. He outlined
the deal and it was just like Saban said it was. Gingie said that we would be
working in his club the Cocos, the Cheetah and various other venues around the
country. He also mentioned that my two future band mates would not be getting
paid. They were both living with their parents at home and didn’t have to
support themselves. I didn’t think too much about that at the time but they had
to have been paid something as I don’t remember them having day jobs. In his
heavy Israeli accent Gingie said that I must show Yaki the “accords”
and to meet them the following day at his club to rehearse at a “corner to
three”.
Yaki and Moti showed up in a cab at the
flat on King David Street the next day where we put my Marshall and Gibson in
the trunk and drove over to the Cocos club. Gingie had given a key to Yaki so
we let ourselves in and set up the gear. Yaki did not have a proper bass amp
but was using one of Wally Garrett’s guitar amps instead. Later we decided that
it would be better for him to use my Marshall 50 watt half stack for his bass
as he claimed that Wally Garrett could modify the amp to be more suited to bass
playing and I would play through the Garrett amp. We sat and talked to discuss
the music that we would play. They were in agreement with me that they did not
want to play all the same pop songs as all of the other Israeli groups and the
choice of material was basically left up to me. I decided to choose whatever
songs I thought would be appropriate from the Tornados repertoire and then
include whatever other material I wanted to play. I was very quick to come up
with some Hendrix and Dylan songs such as Red House, May this be Love, Just
like Tom Thumbs Blues and Outlaw Blues. I showed Yaki the chords and bass lines
and gave Moti the records to take home so he could perfect the drum parts. We
ended up with a repertoire that would surely infuriate the audiences that we
would be playing to.
Purple Ass Baboon continued to play a few
gigs here and there, sometimes once or twice a week and sometimes not at all.
We usually played in these out of the way places somewhere in the desert areas
in dusty make shift night clubs. We had a driver and a roadie who would pick us
up in a transit van and drive us to the venue. Some of these gigs were in real
rough places. One night in a place near Beer Sheba we were constantly badgered
by a group of young punks persistently asking for us to play The Letter by the
Box Tops. I of course kept refusing their requests as every band in Israel was
playing that song and although it was not a bad number I loathed it and would
not play it. When the hecklers became more and more persistent our roadie set
up two rows of chairs in front of the stage in order to keep them at bay and
away from the stage. This pissed them off even more and they looked like they
were beginning to threaten our roadie. We had just finished playing Outlaw
Blues by Bob Dylan when Yaki looked at me across the stage and said “They’re
still asking for The Letter”
“Oh tell them to get fucked” I answered.
Yaki came back with “You don’t understand what they are saying” I said that I
didn’t give a fuck what they were saying” “Well” replied Yaki with a worried
look “They’re saying that if we don’t play it they’re going to throw all the
chairs at us, beat the shit out of us and smash up all of our instruments”
I turned around to Moti who was sitting
behind his drum kit and looking scared to death and I said “Ok, the Letter,
one, two, three, four……….”Gimme a ticket for an aero plane”…………… That song
saved our lives that night and we played it several times until the welcomed
end of the evening. One good thing was that the Israeli punks at the front of
the stage did warm up to us a bit more just as long as every third or fourth
number was The Letter. I might add that we were also obliged to play “Here we
go Loop-de-Loop”.
You played some really aggressive songs and if I may say so some early
examples of “punk rock”. How did the audience react to this kind of music?
Robb: Here is an example of how the music
that we performed in Purple Ass Baboon went over with the Israeli audiences.
The most memorable gig was at Kolnoah Haen
(Cinema Haen) which used to be on Dizengoff Circle. We were just one of several
bands on the bill that night and were playing a short spot of maybe four songs.
I stood in the wings and hung about the stage listening to and watching the
other bands as we waited to do our spot. It was a series of Israeli bands that
were all basically playing the same songs, with a few exceptions here and
there. As always these bands were competing against each other to see who
played the best renditions and the audience judged them accordingly with its
show of appreciation. It was almost like a talent contest. The theatre was full
to capacity without a single empty seat left in the house. The theatres, movie
houses, clubs and cafés were always hopping. This was early 1968 and there was
no television in Israel. It was still a radio society and reminded me of the
early fifties in England before TV when every one’s life revolved around the
radio.
When it came our turn to go on stage I knew
that the audience would hate us. I refused Yaki’s request that we play the
Letter and here we go Loop de Loop and told him and Moti that we should try to
freak out the audience by not only what we played on stage but also what we did
on stage. By our second number the audience was already very restless, talking
amongst themselves and waving their hands in the air as if to ask “What is all
this? They had been subjected to John Mayall and Jimi Hendrix and all kinds of
screaming feed back from the guitar which was featured in the songs that they
had never heard before. They had been totally thrown off balance. I chose the
song that Stan and I had written together (Isn’t Life a Drag Sometimes) as the
third song in our set. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that anybody in
the audience would recognize that song. It was known only by the Baboon and
Stan. The audience became highly agitated about half way through the number
when we got into a free jam and I stood with my back to them in front of the
Marshall demonstrating the Art of Feedback.
Cutting through the noise of feedback bliss
I heard Yaki’s voice. As we met in center stage he shouted “Let’s fake a
fight”. I knew what he meant and he began to push me and we locked guitars. We
faked hitting each other with our guitars and began to shout “Fuck you” at each
other with a background of guitar and bass feedback with Moti wiping out on the
drums. The first few rows of the audience, mostly made up of young guys, were
up on their feet. Fists were shaking in the air and shouts of “Kesev B’
Hazarah” (give us our money back) were ringing through.
Now we turned our aggression and
frustration toward the audience, and engaged in a verbal exchange with them. I
was shouting “Fuck you”, and they came back with “Fak yoo” As Yaki began to
bang his bass guitar on the stage causing a booming feedback, Moti, who had
suddenly got caught up in the excitement of the disarray, stopped playing and
kicked his drum kit over the stage. The cymbals were crashing, and the tom-toms
were rolling around. I stood my guitar in front of my amp and just let it
scream. I caught sight of Moti’s drum stool that had come to rest by the mike
stand. I picked it up and shook it at the audience. The guys in the front row,
now up to the front of the stage were just begging me to throw it at them and
were doing all they could to entice me into doing that. As much as I really
wanted to throw the stool, when I heard Yaki’s voice behind me shouting “Don’t
do it Robbie, don’t do it” I decided against it and threw it down onto the
stage. Yaki and I unplugged, and as we slouched off the stage and I passed by the
mike I couldn’t help saying a sarcastic “Thank you” to the audience. Needless
to say we didn’t play a fourth number. The other groups that were still around
back stage looked puzzled as they watched us put our guitars away. The bass
player of one of the bands who were called the Fat and the Thin came up to me.
He introduced himself as Gerard. He was a skinny Moroccan guy who looked almost
oriental. I guess he was the “thin” part of the band. He said he understood the
way we felt and how frustrating it was, but he said that the Israeli audiences
would never accept any music that they had not heard before on the radio and
that the only way to play whatever you want was to leave the country. He was
right about that.
Out of previously mentioned band you
then joined a new one called ‘Churchill’s’ and I have to say, I’ve listened to
a thousand of psych LP’s and this one if for sure in top 10! Absolutely
amazing! Tell us how did you joined the band and who all was in lineup and how
did it changed during the time?
Robb: Around April or May of 1968 two
members of the Churchills were conscripted into the Israeli army. They were
both guitarists and singers. Their names were Selwyn Lifschitz and Itzhak
Klepter. This opened up a door for me to get into the Churchills. Below is how
it happened.
At the Masakha Club 1968. (L-R) Miki
Gavrielov, Ami Trebich, Stan Solomon Haim Romano, Robb Huxley. Note…The
almost entirely male audience, the poster advertizing  Helen Shapiro, Haim Romano is using my Gibson
335 and Robb is using Churchills Guild guitar.
Yehuda Talit wanted to speak to me so I
arranged to meet him at the Masakha club where the Churchills were rehearsing.
Stan and I showed up that afternoon at the club. The pungent aroma of Shish
Kabob and falafel from the diner down stairs permeated the air as we got out of
the cab. We climbed the stairs and heard the distant sound of guitars and drums
which became louder as we pushed open the door and walked into the club. I
brought my guitar to run through a few numbers with the guys and laid it down
on one of the tables. The band had just finished tuning up. Miki Gavrielov
played bass, Haim Romano played lead and Ami Trebich sat behind them on the
drums. Miki smiled and said “Hello, come and play with us man” so I wasted no
time in getting out my beloved 335. Stan and I got up on the stage and decided
to run through one of his soul songs. Miki ran through the chords with me and
we started with My Girl. As I had seen the Churchills play several times I had
some idea of how the music went and I caught on pretty quick. It was just like
it was in the Saxons and Whirlwinds; we were knocking off other people’s hits.
I felt at ease with that as unlike the other bands I had played with including
the Tornados, I was not the lead singer and did not have to carry the band. My
vocal contribution was back up singing.
Stan really wanted to have a stab at
singing “All Your Love” – John Mayall and the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
that I had sung in the Tornados. Stan and I had listened to that album several
times and he had become quite familiar with that number. I showed the guys that
it was basically a twelve bar progression in A minor that doubled up in the
middle part and resolved back to the regular beat at the end. After a few tries
we started to get it down and as the number progressed I noted how Miki and Ami
played very well together which gave the band a good tight sound. Haim Romano,
barely seventeen was already a very talented guitarist and picked up everything
immediately. Just when we had “All Your Love” coming on nicely the door opened
at the rear of the dance floor and in walked Yehuda Talit. He was six feet tall
with tight curly brown hair wearing a white long sleeve shirt and gray slacks.
He stood there for a few minutes with his hands in his pockets and his knees
bending backwards until we stopped playing. He walked toward the stage “Shalom,
shalom, shalom” acknowledging the band and without any reference to what we had
played he said “Ok now play something of Stan’s”. We played “My Girl” which was
all we had, which Yehuda stood and listened to with out expression.
The band took a break at that point and
left the stage to join Yehuda on the dance floor. The conversation went back
and forth between them in Hebrew leaving Stan and me with no idea what they
were talking about. It was something that you got used to after a while.
Presently they broke into English when Yehuda, after a few words with Stan
motioned that he wanted to talk to me, we left the group and sat at a table. He
asked me how I was and if I liked it here in Israel and did I want to stay here
in Israel to which I replied that I did. He said that the boys had told him
that they wanted me to join the group and asked if that was true that I did
want to play with the Churchills and I told him “Yes”.
Then he asked me what about the Purple Ass
Baboon and I told him that was over. “You know Gingie is asking me to pay him
money for you, what about that?” he asked. My reply was that I had no signed
agreement with Gingie and that he did not own me and I was not his to sell.
“Ok” he said and as he began to stand up he asked me to get back on stage
together with the band without Stan and sing “Sunny” which was a hit in Israel
at the time and played by various bands there. The Churchills played it and
Selwyn used to sing it. I explained that I did not know the song well enough to
get up and sing it as I had only heard it a few times but he insisted, so I
reluctantly gave a shot at trying to bluff my way through it while at the same
time realizing that I was being put through some kind of an audition by Yehuda.
All I knew was “Sunny, thank you for the lah, lah, lah, lah, lah……….” I felt
uncomfortable and embarrassed that I was being put through this and was
relieved when we stopped playing it. As I was coming down the steps at the side
of the stage Yehuda walked up and said “Well Robb, if that’s what the boys
want, you can play in the band, but I hope you’re going to be good enough to be
in the Churchills” He shook my hand and after a few words with the others he
left the club.
The last words that Yehuda had said to me left
me feeling resentful. It had been unfair of him to audition me in that way. Was
I good enough to be in the Churchills? Well at that point when Yehuda gave me
his permission to join the band, that action would change his precious
Churchills forever and put them on a road of musical discovery that would lead
to them becoming an original band.
The next few days were full of rehearsals.
We got Stan’s set down quickly and then settled into the task of plowing
through the Churchills’ numbers which consisted of pop hits from various groups
and for the most part the same music that was being played on the radio
stations.
Selwyn Lifschits, Robb Huxley, Haim Romano
outside of the flat on Sokolov Street.
Robb, what are some of the strongest
memories from producing and recording this LP? Who should take the credit for songwriting  Was there any concept to it; I know it was kind of a soundtrack
of a movie called  “A Woman’s Case”.
Robb: Well yes the first side of the album
was made up of songs that Stan and I wrote especially for the movie A Woman’s
Case. The songs on the flip side were other songs that we had written. We also
featured on that album a song based on an idea by composer and conductor Noam
Sharif called Debka. Noam composed the melody and Stan and I wrote the lyrics.
Meeting and working with Noam Sharif was a pleasant experience, he produced the
song with Stan and came up with the Arabic musicians. The song starts with the
sound of somebody smoking on a water pipe or Hookah and ends up with a
discordant jam with Noam freaking out on the keyboard and the Churchills screaming
and shouting. The noise and chaos only stops when a bomb drops and everything
goes quiet. Recording that album was a great experience because it gave us the
chance to be ourselves and to be creative and not have to conform to any kind
of pop music rules. It was a very free experience for us. We were always having
fights with the engineer and technicians as they had never recorded a real rock
band before. When we told them that we wanted to create a backwards track like
Jimi Hendrix they almost fell on the floor and claimed that it couldn’t be
done. Well they did it in the end but only after they lost the guitar solo
which was played backwards. They lost it on purpose as they were ashamed that
any one should hear this kind of music that was recorded in their studio. The
song was So Alone Today. There was no concept to this album it was just
influenced by what was going on at the time. If Jacques Katmoor had never
approached us to write the music for the movie then the album would never have
existed and many of the songs would never have been written.
The LP was released on a label from
‘Hed Arzi’. Do you know anything about the distribution and how many copies
were actually pressed? Is there any unreleased material from the band?
Robb: Yes the album was put out by the
Israeli record company Hed Arzi I am not sure of how many records were made in
the first pressing but if I would have to make a guess that it might have been
1,000 copies It was made only for the Israeli market at that time and
considering that the population of Israel at that time was only 2,000,000 it’s
understandable that they had a limited pressing. The Israeli audiences had no
idea what psychedelic music was and had no interest in it. All they wanted to
hear was what the radios played and that was pure pop crap at the time; so how
many records did they think they were going to sell? At this time there is no
unreleased music by the Churchills, Jericho Jones or Jericho.
Where are all the other members of the
band these days?
Robb: The lineups for the bands were as
follows, The Churchills ….Stan Solomon (vocals) Miki Gavrielov (Bass, vocals)
Robb Huxley (Guitar Vocals) Haim Romano (Lead Guitar) and Ami Trebich (Drums)
When Stan Solomon left the band in 1969 he was replaced by Danny Shoshan. This
line up carried over to Jericho Jones and Jericho until Ami Trebich and Miki
Gavriellov left in 1972 and were replaced by Chris Perry. The band then became
a four piece with Danny Shoshan taking over the bass guitar.
Today Miki, Haim and Danny all live in
Israel. Miki is a very successful singer, songwriter and composer and has won
many awards including a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to
Israel popular music. Haim is a very successful session guitarist and bouzouki
player also winning awards for his musicianship. Danny is the lead singer of a
15 piece band and performs all over the world. Danny continues to write his own
music and is a recognized and well known singer and musician in his own right.
A few years ago on the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) Ami Trebich died of
a sudden heart attack at the age of 62. He is sorely missed by us all. Stan
Solomon lives in retirement in Montreal and Robb Huxley; well I live in Miami
Beach where I’m working on new music in cooperation with Danny Shoshan for a
new Jericho album. I am also in the continual process of writing my memoirs of
the bands. I perform here and there and sometimes travel to Israel for reunion
shows. The rest of my time is taken up by my work in the Ice Cream Distribution
business.
  
Were psychedelic drugs part of the
band?
Robb: We did not do a lot of Psychedelic
drugs such as LSD or Mescaline just on rare occasions; they were not a part of
our day to day regimen. With the exception of the heavy drugs we tried many
things but our drug of choice was Hashish as it was so readily available and
inexpensive in the Middle East.
I will write down songs from the LP
and I would appreciate if you could comment them.
A1         
Open Up Your Eyes
Robb: Jacques Katmoor called up Yehuda
requesting to see the band. We were invited to meet him at a screening studio
in Tel-Aviv. His appearance was of a French style movie director. He spoke
Hebrew and English with a French accent. He was of average build, casual dress
with a well-trimmed full beard. After the usual chat was completed Jacques
explained that he was making a modern style movie and wanted some exiting,
weird unusual rock music to embellish the movie. I think he was trying to look
for the word Psychedelic which is what he got from the Churchills. He took us
into the screening room which was like a very small movie house where we sat
and watched a few rushes of the movie. Jacques’ wife Elite Katmoor was the
leading lady in the film. After we saw the excerpts we looked at each other and
we got the impression that this was some kind of sex movie. I think that
Jacques probably picked all those parts showing his wife naked to really get
our attention and I guess it did. He told us that it was a modern movie of that
time, showing a relationship between a man and a woman and in English would be
called a woman’s case.
When Stan and I got back to the hotel I
immediately picked up the guitar and we sat down together and talked about the
movie. I thought and suggested that we should write something which would be a
great opener for the movie. Something upbeat and lively something to make
people open up their eyes and see what was going on. Stan starting talking
about taking a look around you and we came up with Open up Your Eyes………   Faces, lips, and teeth and eyes and touch me
girl and trip with me you’re not made of stone you respond to forces……Open up
your Eyes. These were examples of the lyrical styles of Stan Solomon. I helped
with the melody and got the chords down. It was initially called Take a Look
around You but we dropped it in favor of Open up Your Eyes.
                           
A2         
Song From the Sea       
Robb: With the completion of Open up your
Eyes under our belt the songs began to pour out of us. Our writing sessions
were paying off. Invariably Stan would hear me playing a riff on the guitar and
he’d say “Wait, wait, play that again Robbie and he and I would build a song
around it. Songs born out of those situations were Song from the Sea and
Comics.  With Song from the Sea I started
playing a kind of jazzy, classical riff which led into a Jim Morrison related
feel and lyric which I believe that Stan picked up from Moonlight Drive by the
Doors. Likewise Comics came from a riff I had messed around with from an
instrumental we had put together back in Robb Gayle and the Whirlwinds called
The Freak, which we kinda borrowed from an instrumental we had heard called
Chop Sticks. Stan’s lyrics although very simple, reflect the duality of the
band’s inability to play its own music; due to pressure from management and
demands of its audience and also Stan’s personal life where he had been guided
into a career of dress design and manufacture by his family and to show his
rebellion against this he was singing in a rock band in Israel.
            
A3         
Picture in My Mind       
Robb: Stan and I were always up all night
long either writing songs or drawing with felt tips or making collages or
writing poetry and Pictures in my Mind came from that. We were sitting one
night and I said to Stan, “I’m painting pictures in my mind” and the whole song
came from that. It’s a pretty, poppy little song about psychedelic experience
that is short because we were told to make the song a specific length for the
movie. 
            
A4         
Comics (See A2)  
A5         
Where You’re Gone   
Robb: While sitting alone one night after
putting Efrat (my then girlfriend now my wife) in a taxi I came up with When
You’re Gone, a song that I wrote for her. I had been playing around with a few
ideas when we lived in Moshe Ben Ezra Street which had come to me after walking
Efrat home one night. When I returned I sat on my bed feeling sad that Efrat
was not still there with me and I 
investigated the thought  that she
could have no idea of  the way that I
felt when I was missing her when she was not there, hence You don’t know how I
feel in the morning when you’re gone. Now at Nes Ziona it all came to me and
fell into place as I included lyrics related to Efrat and me and how we were
two different people of different religions and different upbringing and it was
all very exotic and exciting for me.
            
A6         
Strangulation
Robb: This song was basically written by
Stan with help from Miki Gavrielov who played guitar and came up with the
riffs. Some of the songs that Stan wrote the lyrics to were about a Danish girl
called Birit he had met in Tel Aviv. He was very much in love with her but she
left him for a drummer from another band. He was devastated. The song was
called Strangulation because the woman in the movie A Woman’s Case gets
strangled at the end of the movie.
            
B1         
Straight People
Robb: It was a song I started to write when
we were travelling through Italy in 1968 on our way to Denmark. It’s obviously
Doors influenced and it’s a hit at the entire noisy, square, run of the mill
people who we came in contact with. Stan and I finished it when we returned to
Israel. We mixed several conversations together at the end fade out and ran
them at different speeds.
            
B2         
Subsequent Final
Robb: I wrote Subsequent Finale one night
when I was alone at the hotel. I had been playing around with a new chord that
I had discovered by accident. It had open strings in it so it had a bright
ringing sound to it. I also discovered that if you slid your fingers down a
tone it also gave a similar sounding chord with the same open strings. The
jangly sound and the chord progression really turned me on and I played it over
and over again. The words that first came to me were “If you really love me
girl won’t you please come on home” but I could get no further than that. I
remembered that over the past few days I had been scribbling down a few lines
that had come into my head. I was imagining myself as a junky sitting on a
bench in the sun and thinking about things. When I tried the words with the
chord progression they wouldn’t fit until I changed the rhythm pattern and
suddenly I had “The screaming soaring waves of my mind are thinking of seagulls
by the sea”. To write and complete the rest of the lyrics came to me relatively
quickly and easily. Then came the idea of combining some kind of Middle Eastern
influence together with what I had come up with and by the time Stan came in it
was as good as finished. While he sat on his bed, rolling a joint on the back
of an album cover I played him the song. “Huxley you’re a fucking genius, show
me those lyrics” he exclaimed with delight. He asked me to play it again and he
picked up the melody from me and very soon he had it down and holding the scraps
of paper in his hand he interpreted the lyrics in great form. We ended up
playing it over and over again until we got tired and finally as the sun was
coming up we rolled off to bed.
                           
B3         
So Alone Today
Robb: We were very much influenced by
Hendrix’s use of backward guitar and drum tracks so when Stan and I wrote So
Alone Today we thought we would do a backwards version. As I mentioned before
we ran in to a lot of problems with this track at the studio. The engineers
really believed that we were crazy and they deliberately sabotaged the track
when they lost the backwards guitar solo track. The song has a kind of cold
“lost in space” sound and Stan is writing about Birit again here.
            
B4         
Debka
Robb: At first when Stan and I were told
that a classical musician and conductor Noam Sharif had written a melody called
Debka and wanted to feature it on our album with our lyrics we were not that
thrilled. When we met Noam we changed our minds and he turned out to be a very
hip and pleasant person to work with. The initial idea was that we were
supposed to write lyrics about Debka which was a fictitious dance craze
sweeping through the Middle East hence “Come Debka, Debka with me”. Stan and I
didn’t go for that and came up with serious lyrics. I was reading the Tibetan
Book of the Dead at the time and that reading shed an air of mystery and
mysticism over the song while people were doing the Debka and dancing circles
under a tree.
Arik Einstein had a hit “Akhi Noam”,
(eng. When You’re Gone). This was written by you for ‘the Churchills’. Tell us
about Arik. You became his backing band, how did that happened?
Robb: Arik Einstein although now basically
retired from the music business in one of the top 30 most famous people in
Israel, right up there with Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan etc. In the
early 70’s he decided to change his style from classic Israeli folk and
traditional music to pop and rock. He was looking for a rock band to back him
and as the Churchills were the most progressive rock band in the country he
decided to use us as his live backing band and for many of his recordings his
session band. We performed regularly with him, opening up for him and played
some tracks on his next album which is 
now claimed to be the first ever rock album performed in Hebrew. He had
heard the recordings from our album and liked very much my song “When You’re
Gone”. He got Yonatan Geffen (an established Israeli lyricist) to write the
Hebrew words to the song. It became a big hit for him. I also collaborated with
him on an album of children songs which was made up of some of his own
compositions together with several of my own compositions. We parted company
with him when we became Jericho Jones. I last saw him in 2002.
Around this period you changed your name to Jericho Jones and you
started working on your album, that would later be titled ‘Junkies Monkeys
& Donkeys’. Where was this album recorded, because you soon relocated to
UK. Tell us about producing and recording this LP?

Robb: The name was changed to Jericho Jones
at the time that we made the album Junkies Monkeys and Donkeys. Ellis Elias at
Red Bus Company suggested that we change our name as we would be based in
England and that it didn’t sound right that a band from Israel should be called
The Churchills. So we got a bit of both with Jericho from the Middle East and
Jones from the United Kingdom. The Jericho Jones album was recorded at
Tangerine Studios in London. It was an 8 track studio. We recorded the whole
album in its entirety in one mammoth 24 hour session. It was mixed later by
Ellis Elias at a later date after we had returned to Israel where we were still
known as the Churchills. I can’t really remember what gear we used for
recording. It might have been our Marshall stacks or it could have been studio
amps.
Was there any original concept behind
the album? Why such name and what can you tell us about the cover artwork?
Robb: No there wasn’t any concept to the
album it was just a collection of songs we had written without caring about
what the current trends in music were. The songs were all written in Israel by
Danny and me. We were tucked away in that little corner of the world where we
were not in the mainstream of what was going on in Europe and the USA. We often
thought about what people from the west would think of our music. But our
seclusion and environment helped us create our own type of music. The name of
the album Junkies, Monkeys and Donkeys was decided upon by Ellis Elias and was
the title of one of the tracks on the album. It was written by Danny and me
while in the seaside resort of Eilat.
Would you like to comment some of the
songs from that LP?
Robb: My favorite tracks on the album are
There is Always a Train (Huxley) What have we got to Lose (Huxley /Shoshan) and
of course the title track. Themes of some of the songs are threat of nuclear
war, changing times, and drug addiction. There are no love songs and most
themes are generally serious in content. I don’t believe that we gave any of
our own ideas for the album cover. That was all done by Red Bus while we were
away in Israel. It shows a hand rising up from the ruins of Jericho.
There were two releases of the album.
One on the Hed Arzi label and the other one on A&M. How many copies were
pressed?
Robb: I have no idea how many records were
pressed in the first release probably no more than a few thousand. Since then
it has been re-released a few times but I have no idea of sales figures.
Then came another change and you were
now just ‘Jericho’ living in London. What happened? Did the lineup also
changed?
Robb: The contract with A & M records
was that we should make 2 albums. So that’s how the Jericho album came about.
We were not completely comfortable as a band with the name Jericho Jones as we
felt it was kind of pop sounding and so when we wrote and recorded the music
for that album we decided to drop the Jones to have a more serious name for the
band hence Jericho which was more in line with the current name of heavy bands.
It was decided that the band would move to London on a pretty permanent basis
to perform and record a second album.
You recorded your next album titled
just ‘Jericho’ and it’s a total killer. What can you tell us about producing
and recording that LP?
Robb: The making of the Jericho album was a
great experience. We recorded it at Command Studios in London. It was a very
professional set up and many big bands recorded there. We were able to get most
of the 5 tracks down in a few takes, some first takes. We had played most of
them live for some time so we had them down good. We used our Marshall gear but
Haim had changed to a Hiwatt amp head. A memorable time was when we were
present at the session when the strings were put on Justin and Nova.
How many copies were released on
A&M and what can you tell us about that cover artwork?
Robb: I don’t recall how many albums that
they did in the first pressing of the Jericho album but I do remember that the
first 100 copies were test pressed with a red tint which was unusual for that
time. Original copies of that still exist selling for $400 /$500 each. I did
get to see a copy. You had to hold it up to the light at a certain angle to see
the tint. The cover once again had a theme of the ruins of Jericho. We went to
an old part of London where they were demolishing some old buildings. We built
a small fire and sat around it. On the walls of the background was all kinds of
graffiti such as “Acid 2 pounds a tab and various other drug related writings. We
had an idea that the word Jericho should appear amongst the graffiti. We were
disappointed when we saw the final album cover as the photo had been touched up
so much that all the other graffiti had been covered up. We felt that it should
have been left as it was shot with only our band name added.
Where else beside South Africa did you
tour? Did you perform there with bands such as Suck and Freedom’s Children?
Share your memories from touring…
Robb: Along with South Africa we played in
Denmark, Holland, France, Belgium, Italy and Portugal. In South Africa we
toured with Joburg Hawk. That was a very remarkable tour with too many
interesting tales to tell but I will be writing all about them on my website in
the future. At that time we were playing to segregated audiences. We were
taking a chance as bands could get blacklisted in those days and could be
banned from working on the college circuits which were essential gigs to play
at if you really wanted to get known and be appreciated.
Please comment songs from this LP.
A1         
Ethiopia
Robb: This song was born out of some kick
ass weed that an American chick brought us from Africa, supposedly Ethiopia. I
got the start of the instrumental part and we took it from there.
                           
A2      
   Don’t You Let Me Down
Robb: Written by Miki Gavriellov and a good
Mid – East flavored rock song. Miki’s first major composition.
                           
A3         
Featherbed      
Robb: It was started by me from a riff that
I was fooling with on the piano and complimented by some good riffs from Danny
and the band. This was a first take and a good jam.
            
B1         
Justin and Nova       
Robb: One of my all-time favorites which I
wrote and conceived in one shot. It all came to me one night in Israel. I was
married and had a 3 month old son Justin. 
The story tells how my children go on a joy ride with Goran an
extraterrestrial from Aurigae in his X – oplane. What Justin and Nova didn’t
know was that due to the difference in travel time when they would return their
mother and I would have been long gone. I sing the lead vocal on the record
with great harmonies and a brilliant last verse sung by Danny.
B2         
Kill Me With Your Love
Robb: Another favorite of mine written by
Danny and me. with some great riffs and a trippy intro with the song going
through many moods and changes. As one might imagine it is a song full of
sexual references. We came up with an idea to have Danny have sex with a girl
on top of the piano while we were recording the song and so get all the real
sound effects but sorry to disappoint everybody but that never happened.
What was typical live set?
Robb: Our set list was comprised only of
our original songs. I can’t remember details of how they came in the sets, but
that’s all we played, numbers from our albums.
What happened next for you guys and
what were you doing later? What currently occupies your life?
Robb: In 1973 we broke up due to all kinds
of problems with band members, management, record company etc. There was one
encouraging thing which was Peter Grant then Led Zeppelin’s manager wanted to
take over Jericho but due to a breakdown of negotiations between Red Bus, Grant
and our contractual commitments it never happened and the Walls of Jericho came
tumbling Down. Today Miki, Haim and Danny all live in Israel and are still in
the business with successful individual careers. Drummer Ami Trebich passed
away a few years ago from a sudden heart attack on Yom Kippur and is sorely
missed by us all. I live in Miami where I write music and perform here and
there. I am also involved with Ice Cream distribution.
The end of Jericho. London England 1972.
Photo taken by Haim Romano
I would like to thank you again for
taking your time to share the story about one of the most underrated bands of
all time. Would you like to add anything, perhaps a message to It’s Psychedelic
Baby readers?
Robb: I hope that your readers will find
this information interesting to read about the Churchills/ Jericho Jones/
Jericho saga. It makes me happy and a bit surprised that after 40 years our
music is still played and appreciated by all demographics stretching from 20
year olds all the way up to people like me in their 60’s. To all fans Danny and
I are working on songs for what we hope will be a new Jericho album.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2012
© Copyright
http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2012
5 Comments
  1. Anonymous

    One of the best interviews I've read on this blog. Great work Klemen!

  2. Rich AfterSabbath

    Wow this is fantastic, a great resource to find out about this important band. Thanks Klemen.
    Rich
    www.aftersabbath.com

  3. Anonymous

    This is a really, seriously impressive find. Great interview

  4. Slamazzar

    Great read! I heard their 1972 album yesterday and I am absolutely amazed by the song Justin and Nova. It is virtually one of the greatest prog rock compositions ever written. It will never cease to astonish me how can "music business" successfully prevent such great bands to carry on and makes them tumble down instead. Especially when they really enjoy playing together. Do you know Robb, Danny and Haim jammed together in 2011 and there is a footage of them on youtube playing Ethiopia? They still do rock and Danny lost nothing of his voice. This talk of writing new material is therefore really optimistic. Fingers crossed one day it sees the light of the day (just as it was with Comus). Keep rocking, guys!

  5. Spike_81

    Wow!, thanks for sharing this, great band Jericho

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