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Goliath interview

July 14, 2014

Goliath interview

Mancunian band Goliath—a name familiar I’m sure to many of
our readers—was a female-fronted, jazzy, progressive outfit that left the world
one very commendable record on CBS in 1970. To be filed next to your
Catapillas, Affinitys and Rooms, the band featured the delightful Linda
Rothwell on vocals—who really packed a punch despite her five foot one
stature—with a Melody Maker article from the day affectionately christening her
“Little Linda—rock slinger”. The band forwent the customary Hammond organ
favoured by many prog acts, instead choosing to flesh out their sound with
top-rate flute and sax courtesy of Joseph Rosbotham (or Ros as he was known to
the band). The rest of the line-up included Malcolm Grundy on guitar, John
Williamson on bass and Eric Eastman on drums and percussion. The band opened
for some of the big names back in the day including Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple
and E.L.P. and were slated for big things, with a heavy promotion campaign in
the works from CBS.
It’s with great pleasure, therefore, that I welcome “Little
Linda”, Joseph Rosbotham and John Williamson to It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine,
who have kindly agreed to shed some light on the band.
Hello Linda, Ros and John! We’re so thrilled to have you on here!
Thank you for taking the time to do this!
I’d like to start with the basics and ask you where you
born, if your family was particularly musical and what memories you have of
music growing up?
Linda: Hi. I was born in Bury, Lancashire, which is in the
Greater Manchester area. I was the only one in my family who was musical,
although both my mother and father liked to sing (or try to sing) along with a
few opera singers every now and then. That’s probably the reason why I have a
love for many operas to this day—yes opera!
At an early age I loved all the Sixties music: Diana Ross,
etc.. Before that—the Rolling Stones. I remember having Brian Jones’ picture
plastered on my walls as a teenager [laughs]!
Ros: My place of birth was near a village some 13 miles
north of Liverpool—Rainford. My father was a small farmer and our farm was
close to the local railway station. My grandmother had a piano—disastrously out
of tune—which I explored on weekend visits. None of our family were musical,
but my mother always used to have Radio Eireann (the Irish wireless station) on
when I was a toddler. I must have absorbed a bit of Irish spirit somehow; her
favourite singer was Josef Locke!
Apart from being put in the middle of the school choir
concert at age 9 years—even though I had never learnt or heard the songs being
sung because of a long bronchial illness in hospital—my first conscious
interest in sounds began with Bill Haley & The Comets; Rudy Pompilli was
tenor sax man. The sound of saxophone tickled my ears; I remember making a
rough model of a saxophone out of wood and nails and learning where to put the
fingers long before persuading my dad to buy me a real one. Violin and piano
(Chopin and Bach) were also tried out, but sax was my first real love.
John: I was born in Lowton (the area of Manchester) and I
moved to Nairobi; my father worked for the East African Railways and Harbours.
My father played piano and my mother played cello, although I have no
recollection of hearing her play cello; I probably picked something up from
there.
To Linda: What were some of the first songs you learnt to
sing as a child? I understand “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window”
was one of them? When did you realise singing was what you wanted to do?
Linda: Wow! Where did you read about “Doggie In The Window”?
This is a true story—my first audience outside a shop. I sang in the school
choir, around the house and alongside singers on the TV. I always wanted to
sing.
To Linda: You took part in your school choir; how did you
find that and what age would you have been then? Did you do any other singing
before joining bands?
Linda: I would have been around 11 years old. I also sang
with a couple of singing groups around the Manchester area to the elderly in
retirement homes.

To Ros and John: Could you adapt this question to your
experiences learning your instruments?
Ros: I began to listen to Humphrey Lyttelton’s jazz
programme play Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington,… Gerry Mulligan
Quartet was a favourite. Jazz and blues were my areas of interest–any
experimental sounds. I thought the Rolling Stones, The Who,… were just noise,
tho’ later on the Beatles sounded more musical.
During my teenage years at grammar school we had a wee
trio–clarinet, saxophone and piano, but no bass or drums–but we did not seem to
get much support. No choir or school band at that time; all the other kids were
listening to pop or classical, I guess…
John: My influences really started when I was playing
recorder in my school band for a nativity play and I bumped into a guy called
Richard Zebster. He was a guitarist and inspired me to learn to play the
guitar; I was about 14/15, I think, when I started playing. Guitar was my first
instrument. I used to dabble on piano at my auntie’s, trying to write things. I
had an inkling to stick melodies together, so I was sort of doing that before
the guitar, really. I was listening to things like Jimmy Smith “Walk On The
Wild Side”, [those] sort of organ things. Elvis was drifting in and out. It was
mainly American music, cultivating everything. I went to art school and then I
listened to R ’n’ B and Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, the blues side of
things. Then I got really into soul music.
To Linda and John: Linda and Goliath bass player John
Williamson were part of a band called Petrus Booncamp before forming Goliath.
Were either of you in any other bands prior to being in Petrus Booncamp and if
so, could you tell us as much as you remember about them?
Linda: I was in many different bands, the first of which was
with 2 local boys, Ray and Moss Studham. We would practice at the back of a
booking office after they closed. I must have been about 13 at the time. The
next was named Linda And The Wildlife. I was around 16 at the time; I sang a
lot at school concerts and somebody passed this information on to the Wildlife
band. Then came the Lemon Line which had 4 singers. They were Brian McGladdery,
Rick Dean, Precious Kingston and myself. We were managed by a man called John
Knowles who gave me the nickname Bubbles, which I hated (I believe he’s
handling some big names in England right now). In 1967, Lemon Line was signed
to Decca Records and released one single—“For Your Precious Love”.  After a year or so with the Lemon Line and a
couple of tours of Germany, England and Ireland, John Knowles had bigger ideas
for me and wanted me to hook up with 2 other female singers; you may have heard
of them—Polly Brown and Louisa Jane White. We were at that time being
co-managed by a man named Morris King; he was the manager of the Walker
Brothers. Polly, Louisa and I were then named (don’t laugh) Bubbles, Bangles
and Beads. I’ll try and send a picture later; I have one. We had quite a few
backing bands from all over the country; we were one of the first girl bands,
if you will. After we broke up, I took a short break. I read an ad in the
newspaper for a female singer in Germany to sing for American troops. This is
how I met Roy Robinson; it was his band. I can’t remember the other band
members’ names; one was called Jimmy, another was Martin. When our bass player
announced he was leaving, John Williamson came as our replacement. John and I
became very good friends and would sing and play together till early in the
morning. That’s when I first got into Nina Simone, Etta James and Aretha
Franklin.

Lemon Line. Linda Rothwell—front-left
© Linda Rothwell
John: After having been in sort of a little rock ’n’ roll
band which was called the Banshees—I must have been about 17— I joined a band
from Leigh (near Manchester, UK) and that became the Night Train. It was a
Booker T. & The M.G.’s sort of repertoire and soul music, basically.
To Linda and John: I understand Roy Robinson, later singer
for the great Norwegian band Titanic, was also in Petrus Booncamp. Who else was
in the band, when did you form and what sort of music did you play? Did you
tour much around the UK? Please feel free to tell us anything else you remember
about the band and your time in it!
Linda: On returning from Germany, John Williamson, Roy
Robinson and I decided to form another band; it was a progressive band. We were
writing all our own music. We did a couple of demos; one was called “Salt In My
Wounds”. I can’t remember the names of the other members. We took it to another
level and formed Goliath.
John: I went to Germany to the US bases and joined a band
with Roy and Linda. We came back to the UK and me and Linda decided to form a
band [with Roy] which became Petrus Booncamp. Then Roy left and joined a band
called Titanic. We went on to become Goliath after various escapades in Europe
and working at the Top Ten club in Hamburg [alongside Danish band Lost And
Found]. In fact, me and Linda went back to Denmark with them after that
escapade and spent a week or so in Denmark. Petrus Booncamp were dabbling with
their own material; we started writing songs and did a demo in London—Tin Pan
Alley sort of demo. I can’t remember what happened to it; I don’t think
anybody’s got a copy. Then we became Goliath.

Petrus Booncamp. Linda Rothwell—sitting on the chair; John
Williamson—far right
 © Linda Rothwell
To Ros: What bands were you in prior to joining Goliath? Do
please feel free to go into as much detail as possible.
Ros: My tenor sax lay forgotten under the bed for a long
time after school days, until I rediscovered it while spring cleaning at age
24. “Oh! That were summat else I used to do one time—wonder what it sounds like
now!”, methought. It still sounded good to me and I played tenor sax with a
showband (Irish showbands were popular) for 18 months around the Northern
Labour and night clubs. I decided there was not enough music in that for me. I
then ended up in a holiday camp in Devon with Malcolm Grundy, who I had heard
locally. We played foxtrots and waltzes, sometimes for holidaymakers in
wheelchairs. The bandleader was alcoholic “Red” Price—now passed away—of “Hoots
Mon” and Six-Five Special fame.
After that fiasco, Malc, Gerry Kenny and me played some
weird gigs doing Malcolm’s post-Hendrix freakout sounds–including Bala village
hall, in North Wales–where the kids seemed to dance in a big circle
trance-like. I remember being fascinated by the sight of them, tho’ our group
was out-of-their-minds stoned too.
Later Linda and John Willy asked Malcolm to join Petrus.
They had a contract to play one month at the Top Ten club, Hamburg—I went too.
We practised a bit at the farm but did not have much repertoire and struggled
for a drummer. That was hard work—late nights till early morning. There were
two bands alternating: us and a Danish band who were really big smokers. Both
bands got sacked after two weeks. The club got empty because of the fantastic
hot weather; the audience were out on the beach partying.
After Petrus Booncamp disbanded, Linda and John stayed
together and joined forces with Malcolm and Eric—both formerly in a band called
The Dominoes/the Beat Boys—and Joseph to form Goliath. I’ve read it took you a
while to settle on Eric as the drummer, going through several before being
happy. Could you go into as much detail as possible as to how the band ended up
with its definitive line-up, mentioning, if you could, the names of any passing
drummers?


Goliath with early drummer. From left to right: John
Williamson, Pete (background), Malcolm Grundy (foreground), Linda Rothwell and
Joseph Rosbotham
© Linda Rothwell
Linda: We went through many drummers looking for Eric; I
can’t remember most of them. The one in the picture was a stand-in named Pete?
Ros: Malc and me came back from Hamburg wondering where
Linda and John Willy had got to; they were in Copenhagen, visiting Christiania
commune. Eventually they returned, broke as always. We began to practise in
earnest after that. Eric Eastman, I had seen on drums at Leigh Jazz club and
thought, “Here is a REAL drummer.”. He had a job at an undertaker’s but did not
like the job; he later gave it up when we started to get a few gigs as Goliath.
John: After watching Jethro Tull we decided we wanted a
flute, so that’s how come we met Joseph Rosbotham, who was playing with a
friend of mine called Gerry Kenny. Gerry Kenny used to be in the Lancashire
Rats. Joseph joined the band and I went off guitar onto bass. Malcolm Grundy
came in on guitar, we formed Goliath and then recorded the Goliath album. We
had a drummer; again, myself and Linda can’t remember what his name was. His
name was Pete; I can’t remember his last name. We had a drummer called Martin
Roscoe [later of Nine Days Wonder] before that; that was in Petrus Booncamp.
Then we got Eric. Eric was a jazz drummer and played vibraphones too. We got
with Eric and used vibraphones in the stage set as well.

From left to right: Pete, Joseph Rosbotham, Linda Rothwell, Malcolm Grundy and John Williamson
© Linda Rothwell
Goliath with Eric. From left to right: Malcolm Grundy,
Joseph Rosbotham, Eric Eastman (background), Linda Rothwell (foreground) and
John Williamson
© Linda Rothwell
With the band formed, where did you rehearse and what
memories do you have of some of those first practice sessions?
Linda: This question made me laugh. Ros lived on a farm with
his parents. We literally practiced in the barn for the most part. John and I
did a lot of practicing/jamming together individually. I was the one most
focused on practicing.
Ros: The barn was full with tons of spuds (potatoes) by the
time we were seriously rehearsing. We used what I called the Wash-house, stoked
a big fire up, annoyed some neighbours half a mile away and had police call in.
Trouble was Ros had to taxi Linda from Bury, so there was much driving around
already for me. Somebody told me once that he didn’t think farmers had much
time for music—that is true as farm work got neglected by me very quickly.
John: We rehearsed in Ros’ farm and barn in Rainford. It’s a
bit of a blur really; I remember walking across to the pub every now and again.
Did it take long for some of the songs featured on the LP to
take shape? Did you perform any songs not featured on your record?
Linda: It didn’t take that long; we worked together as a
band pretty well. We were actually working on our second album when the band
broke up; we were doing a lot of these songs onstage. The one that comes to
mind was written by John and called “Seashore Sands”, which we performed live
on BBC Radio.

Linda Rothwell 
© Linda Rothwell
John: I can’t remember the process, really, other than the
fact that some songs were quicker than others to formulate; some take a lot of
honing in and some get thrown by the wayside. We had a whole catalogue of stuff
for the second album—which never came to fruition—which we actually recorded on
a BBC session. I wonder what happened to that; we’ve never been able to trace
it. It’s just one of those things. I really can’t elaborate much more on that;
it’s a bit lost in the midst of time!  
The beginnings of Goliath saw you gigging in and around your
native Manchester. Could you reminisce about some of those early concerts? If
possible, could you tell our readers what gear each member of the band used on
stage?
Linda: If you’re speaking of our clothing, I wore mostly
antiques—long dresses and gowns—from the Victorian and Edwardian period, bought
from antique clothing stores in Manchester. I also wore jeans tucked into boots and huge belts—that kind
of thing. The rest of the guys: jeans.

Linda onstage with Goliath 
© Linda Rothwell
Ros: I never ever wore jeans! We carried a WEM Watkins PA
with condenser mikes; Linda had her own favourite mike. Malcolm had a
Telecaster with his own custom amp + speakers. The guitarists later used
Marshall 100 Watt amps with 4 x 12” speakers. I can’t remember real detail now;
equipment was undergoing many changes late Sixties—probably still is. Because I
was the only person with cash, I had to buy equipment to get us going, and it
was a learning period for me. John Willy will have a clearer picture of all
that.
Eric, besides conventional drum kit, played excellent
vibraphone onstage. I think the vibes would have been better left until a later
time, however; just the logistics of transport and miking up made extra work
too early.
I play a Selmer Mark VI tenor sax with a Lawton metal
mouthpiece lay 9 and a Uebel aluminium-bodied one-piece flute of unusual design
(a collector’s piece, I think now). I loved that flute—heavy but sturdy. Once,
on reaching for it onstage, I knocked it across the room and it survived; an
ordinary flute would have been wrecked beyond repair.
John: We got a truck and we started gigging up and down the
country. As Petrus Booncamp, before we became Goliath, we supported Led
Zeppelin on their second ever gig; that was at Manchester or Salford
University—I can’t remember which. Then we supported Deep Purple and Canned
Heat and various people like that. Oh! Before that—I mean way before that—with
Night Train, we supported Cream. I’ll always remember that because the bass amp
broke and we asked the roadie from Cream if we could use their bass amp. He said,
“No”, but what we did was… The amp was a Marshall stack—it was behind us on
stage— and we just plugged into it [laughs], much to their horror! They were
giving us daggers from the side of the stage. Cat Stevens we supported there
too.
I had a Sound City bass head, Sound City cab (4 x 12”) and
an Epiphone Rivoli bass, I think.

From left to right: John Williamson, Joseph Rosbotham, Eric
Eastman (behind Linda), Linda Rothwell and Malcolm Grundy
© Linda Rothwell

You were spotted at Leigh jazz club in Greater Manchester by
Phil Sanderson, a representative of Family Tree Productions. He signed you on
to CBS and ended up becoming your manager. Could you elaborate as much as
possible? You mention on your Facebook fan page that a certain Tommy Sanderson
was also involved in a managerial capacity. Could you tell us a few words about
him too?
Linda: Tommy Sanderson managed Louisa Jane White. Phil was
his son (who later married Louisa). If you remember, Louisa and I and Polly
were in a girl group together and we kept in touch. She told Tommy about me and
Goliath and what I was doing and he, along with his son, came up to Leigh jazz
club to watch us live—they loved us. The rest became history.
Ros: Tommy Sanderson I remember as a very approachable guy,
but Linda had more dealings with him than the rest of us. I think they
envisioned us as a girl singer with a backing group more than we did. Although
we thought the world of Linda, it was intended to be a group of equals—each had
their own voice to discover and share.
John: It was kind of an intense situation where we were
focused on what we were doing, I suppose, and the band was getting popular. I
think then we just came in contact with Tommy Sanderson, who had something to
do with Linda before we met her. We got the management situation deal and they
put us with CBS.

Where did you record the album and could you share any
memories that stick out for you during that time in the studio? In particular,
we’d love it if you could say a few words about each track off the LP—anything
at all that comes to mind!
Linda: The album was recorded in London. I remember being
quite stressed out at the time, trying to sleep but the songs going around and
around in my head. The songs I loved singing on the album were “Men”, “No
More Trash” and “Hunters song”. I remember “Prism” was extremely difficult
to record as the timing of the song is quite difficult for a singer, if you
listen closely. But, I loved singing it; the high notes—loved them. I would
open a set with “Men” or “No More Trash” many times and often close the set
with “Hunters Song”. In the middle of “Hunters Song”—where you hear everything
being played but the kitchen sink (quite literally bottles, etc.)—I would sneak
offstage, and at the end where I start singing softly I would appear from
behind a speaker…“In some fields where rabbits run”….loved that song.
John: I can’t remember much about it to be perfectly honest,
what with lots of green smoke lying around. It was those kind of days, so I
don’t really remember too much about it, other than the fact that I know we
weren’t happy with the overall sound. It didn’t quite hit the spot that we
thought, even though we were all very proud of it when we’d finished. I think
we were kind of intimidated by the studio in London, really. They weren’t
really used to Jimi Hendrix sort of turning up, so guitar amps had to be quiet
and the engineers were in white coats looking at dials.
“Port and Lemon Lady”—That was done with Linda, really (if I
remember rightly).

Linda in her Goliath days 
© Linda Rothwell
“Hunters Song” is my favourite from the record.
“Hunters Song”—That was one of my favourites too. That was a
big number live; we were jamming quite a lot on that one. It was kind of a hit
and miss situation, you know; we didn’t know where we’d end up. We’d seen a lot
of American jazz players: Pharoah Sanders, various people… We had a sound tree,
which was like some effects on a stand. I think it was Eric’s wife who got it
from Co-Op where she used to work. It was some sort of postcard stand that
revolved; we used to hang alarm clocks and chains and whistle things on it and
Eric would sort of improvise (in the free moments) using these sounds. We were quite
into the avant garde at the time, taking things a bit further. When I listen
back to it, I sometimes think, “Where the Hell were we actually at!?”—it was
different.
“Maajun (A Taste Of Tangier)”—It’s written by David Graham;
he’s a very famous guitar player. The album we listened to of his was called
Folk, Blues and Beyond…—it’s a great album. He was an acoustic 12-string player
who played some amazing things. Malcolm introduced us, I think, to “A Taste Of
Tangier”, which he and Ros used to play together in an incarnation of the Rats
(with Gerry Kenny). We [Goliath] sort of arranged it ourselves differently, and
that was that.
It’s so long ago, I don’t know how the process came about.
Most of the songs were done from an acoustic guitar point of view, you know,
and just kicking the idea around. I’d either finish it myself or do it with,
say, Linda or whatever and then take it into the band and see what happened,
basically.
Ros: A reel-to-reel ¼” tape was made by ourselves of all the
numbers, maybe five months before any studio in London. Both Malcolm and I
thought this tape had more life than the LP—freer and more relaxed. Malcolm had
the tape, but has forgotten what happened to it.
John: We did an acetate, yes. I think we captured more of
the vibe of the band.
Were there any tracks that didn’t make it onto the LP and
that you wish had made it on?
Linda: I wished “Seashore Sands” had made it on that album.
John: That was particularly a favourite song of mine, really
[speaking of “Seashore Sands”]. Me and Linda had spoken a year or so ago about
redoing it, but I’ve not had the time to get round to doing it. There was quite
a lot of stuff in the stewing pot for the second album.
Ros: Some of my inventions! Malc, John and Linda took on the
writing mostly.
Did you have any input with regards to the album cover
artwork?
Linda: We designed a cover which we all liked but CBS had
their own ideas. We didn’t particularly like the cigarette butt idea but we
liked the picture on the back; it was taken in an area of Manchester called
Moss Side. The gun belt on the picture had live rounds and, on a break from
taking the pictures, I remember the photographers screaming at me to get away
from the fire in the pub where we were taking a break.

Front cover of the record
© Linda Rothwell
Ros: Yep [in response to Linda’s comments].That cover was an
advert for ASH—anti-smoking early on. There were definitely not any 12-bore
cartridges in the cartridge belt! It was mine; I used to shoot wood pigeons and
rabbits on the family farm for a short number of years. I was very interested
in wildlife and ecology, as most farmers are.
John: I think it was done by CBS. They sent a guy down from
London; I remember meeting him in Midland Hotel, in Manchester. He had this
idea we would be this…I don’t know…from this insignificant cigarette butt, it
would be enormous against everything else, you know. Looking back at it, it was
probably a good concept, but I don’t think we liked it at the time. We had the
pictures taken on the back of the sleeve in Moss Side, I think.

Back cover of the LP. From left to right: Joseph Rosbotham,
John Williamson, Malcolm Grundy, Eric Eastman and Linda Rothwell
© Linda Rothwell
Were you pleased with the finished product and did it
reflect the kind of sound you created live?
Linda: We sounded a LOT fuller on stage than the album
reflects and, of course, many of the songs went on for a considerable length
more time, as you can imagine. We would go to a club and Malc would start
playing a riff from “Satisfaction” and suddenly we were all doing a few bars of
that, just jamming away—good times!
Ros: Yes, we were quite disappointed with the sound on
record. It did not give a true impression of our live sound. Malcolm especially
was dismayed with having to play at low volume in the studio. Also, we only
used four short days to get the band on tape, so it was a little rushed. And
too much compression was used.

© Linda Rothwell
To Linda: You mention that the band broke up shortly after
the record was released, citing, as one of the reasons, a breakdown you
suffered brought on by exhaustion.

To Linda, Ros and John: Could you reflect and enlarge on
those final few months leading up to the end of Goliath?
Linda: I had a very physically abusive father—maybe one of
the reasons I liked being on the road a lot. When I came home, though, he was
always there. Need I say more? I was overwhelmed with everything (not realizing
my father was the main contributor at the time) but I went to the doc, told him
how I felt and admitted myself into hospital. After I came out, I moved into an
apartment by myself and started singing at Tiffanys, a night club in
Manchester. I was kind of taking it easy, while remaining in contact with Tommy
and Phil Sanderson.

Linda© Linda Rothwell
Ros: I could say much. Driving back from one of our odysseys
to London, the band van seized up, leaving us stranded on the motorway at
Watford Gap. Luckily, being band treasurer, I had enough cash with me to get us
back home safe. I picked the equipment up the next day; luckily nothing was
stolen. Always risky on der road!
John: Basically, I think Malcolm did as well [have a nervous
breakdown]. It just fell apart; we couldn’t keep it together. All sorts of
things were going on. That was it, really.

To Linda: You later released two singles, one in 1972 and
another in 1973, on the Chapter One label. They are respectively
“Dip-Dip-Dip-Chu-Chi-Face” (B-side “Sweet And Sour”) and
“Write Me A Letter” (B-side “Tell Me”). How did these come
about?
Linda: “Dip dip dip” [laughs]. That was a song written for
someone else. I was supposed to be doing some session singing on it, and the
next thing I know I am the lead singer on it—sounded like a kids song to me.
“Write Me A Letter”—still love that song. I started to write
that on a road trip to London with Tommy’s wife, who co-penned it with me. The
song was about the man who I met after I came out of hospital and later
married—he was American. 

To Linda: In 1973, you left for the States. Could you fill
us in on what you’ve been up to since then up until the present day? You’re
currently singing in a band—please do tell us more!
Linda: Well, I married the person who I just told you about
and had a son. I got divorced and gave up on singing for a while as I was
trying to raise a son. On and off, I would get up and jam—open mike, that type
of thing. I became very interested in “health and fitness” and
started my own personal fitness business in ‘83. I did quite well with that; I
was even voted best trainer in Richmond in Richmond Magazine. Many of my
friends—knowing I was a singer and knowing about my past life—would get me up
on stage now and again, but it’s not been until the past few years that I have
really gotten back into it. I have met a band now (we haven’t named it yet),
but we are practicing quite a lot so I am keeping my fingers crossed. So many
musicians have good intentions but when It comes to practicing, they fall
apart. Great bands don’t become great without lots of practice. I have met
quite a few musicians lately who just don’t want to put the time in, and I
can’t stand this unprofessional bullshit.
To Ros and John: What did you do after Goliath disbanded?
Could you fill us in on what you’ve been doing since then?
Ros: [In response to Linda’s comments] Practice, yes, but
folks have plenty of other things to take care of in life…
I was quite flat for a while after (took to my bed, even),
but eventually pulled myself out of self-pity and took a trip to Scotland. A
Sami friend who had brought some reindeer to the Cairngorms invited me to help
look after herding them. So, I walked about in the mountains for one year. I
loved the freedom of that but didn’t want to play Santa Klaus over Yuletide, so
I went back working on the farm. Eventually, however, sax took hold of me
again—I tried a different approach.
John: I came back to my roots, really. I joined a band from
Leigh called King Kyde’s Star World for a while, which had a bit of a brass
section and was kind of a soul, pop band. Then I met a young lady who went to
live in London; I was kind of besotted with her, so I left to go to London to
seek my fortune. I met up with the old drummer and guitar player from the Night
Train, who were living at Philbeach Gardens, off Earls Court Road. I took a
flat there with some other guys (bedsit) and started playing in London. I did
various auditions, and one day I saw an advert for a band called Titanic. Roy
from Petrus Booncamp was a member; I joined his band. They were a Norwegian
band and were originally called The Beatniks; they were quite big in Norway.
They changed their name to Titanic. They had a #1 with a track called “Sultana”
and they were looking for a bass player. I was kind of back on guitar, really,
but I went for the audition, met up with Roy, and I think I was only
shortlisted; they got somebody called Eric Siegmann from the USA, who didn’t
last more than a couple of weeks, I think. In the meantime, I got a job in the
south of France working in a studio called Seed, in Vallauris. I met up with a
guy called Andrew Poulton, who later became a drummer with Titanic. Andrew
Poulton was from a band called Chapter Six, I think (with members of Procol
Harum, if I’m not mistaken). We kind of formed a band in this studio—the house
band—with Peter Walters on bass and some other people (whose names I can’t
remember) and we basically played background music for 8-track cassettes.
Titanic came to play in Vallauris, near Antibes, and they offered me the job on
bass. I moved to Paris with Titanic.
Weren’t you in a band called Skeleton Crew?
Oh, yeah, that was later. After various adventures with
Titanic, Titanic broke up—excuse the pun—and I came back to the UK. I was
playing various country/western outfits at the time, then I got a job in Ibiza
with a band called The Winterband—this is the early ‘80s (1980/1981). I started
writing with a guy called Brian Marston. I was there for quite a few years in
Ibiza, doing different seasons; I worked at Sgt. Pepper’s night club in San
Antonio. I came back to the UK and then formed my own band, which was the John
Willy Band—everybody calls me John Willy—and that became Skeleton Crew. I was
just walking past the bookshop one day and I saw the Stephen King book Skeleton
Crew
and I thought, “Oh! That’s a good name for a band!”, because we were a bit
of a skeleton crew. That’s how that started, really. There’s quite a few
recordings of Skeleton Crew, some YouTube stuff,… Skeleton Crew kind of
dissolved in about 1999, and I think we got a little bit of success in the
charts in France with a track called “Glory Hunter”, which was written by
myself and Roy from Titanic. The band broke up and I joined The Animals &
Friends, which was John Steel from the original Animals and David Rowberry, the
keyboard player who replaced Alan Price. I stayed with them for about 10 years.
In that time, Dave Rowberry died (in about 2004) unfortunately, and was replaced
by Micky Gallagher from The Blockheads—an English band. He still plays with The
Blockheads and he was in the original Animals briefly in the ’60s when Alan
Price left; I think he was with them for a few months, so he has a claim to
fame as being in the original Animals. So, I was with that band—The Animals—and
toured all over Europe quite hectically for 10 years. We recorded an album
called Animal Instinct, and then I left The Animals. I was working with a
gentleman called Mike Bowden, a songwriting partner of mine. We’d been writing
songs for a while and we got one of them on the Animals album. We decided that
we liked what we were doing, so we formed a little acoustic duo. We were doing
a few festivals, little gigs (as well as The Animals), and then I decided that
The Animals kind of became more like a bit of a theme park; they wanted the
songs sort of ‘as they were’, not like developing or anything. Artistically,
for me, it was kind of a clash, so we parted company and I formed a band with
Michael—the Blues Swamp Band (or Blues Swamp). We made an album as Bowden And
Williamson called Urban Prairie Tales, which is available from…me [laughs]. I
still have several thousand propping up the bed! [See link below] We recorded a
live album as Blues Swamp—sort of a live EP—on a support tour we did with
Nazareth a couple of years ago. We also did another Bowden And Williamson album
called Right Band, Wrong Planet, which again you can get from the Blues Swamp
website. We’re just about to get together and put another album together
soon—we’re working on songs. For the last two years, I’ve been managing a band
called Jeramiah Ferrari, who are a reggae/rock band from Manchester. They’ve
just done an album which they’re putting out this week [speaking on 10/7/2014],
so that’s what I’m doing: managing a band and managing my own band!
Looking back over the years, we’d love to hear your thoughts
on Goliath and what it meant to you then and now.
Linda: I always thought Goliath was way ahead of its time;
I’ve come to learn that more so now. There were a lot of great musicians. We
were definitely hard to categorize at the time, yet the bands that we opened
for (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Deep Purple, to name a few) spoke
volumes for what we were achieving. It was a great time in my life. I took my
singing very seriously. I used my voice as a musical instrument, which you can
hear on some of the tracks but more so in live performance. I was very
theatrical on stage; I moved around a lot with a lot of emotion.
Ros: Groups got too big, very quickly. We tried real hard
but only lasted a short time together. It is quite an adventure, an exploration
of emotion, being in a music outfit—one needs much energy to do this thing.
John: Well, it’s ironic really, because I see in this young
band that I’m managing kind of a similarity: the enthusiasm that we had. In
Goliath we were totally focused on what we wanted to do—nothing else mattered.
When we got the deal, it wasn’t exactly the deal we wanted, but we got a deal.
We got signed to CBS, we got a lot of acclaim for it, and I see a similarity
with this young band that I’m managing with their enthusiasm and their
dedication. This fixed goal that they have in mind kind of reminded me of what
it was like for me in Goliath. I still draw inspiration from that period and
sometimes wonder where it’s all gone, you know [laughs]. It’s kind of like that
feeling of, “Right, this is it! We’re going to do something.”. That’s kind of
an inspiration to me when I look for enthusiasm.
Can we expect a Goliath reunion concert sometime in the near
future, given you’re in direct contact with most of your former bandmates? Have
you talked about it amongst yourselves?
Linda: I’m really in contact only with John, who I’ve Skyped
a couple of times. Malc has written to me via Facebook, and Ros lately too.
John is busy with the former Animals and doing his own acoustic thing, as you
can see on Goliath on Facebook. Malc is in Snooty Fox, Babbacombe, Torquay. I’m
in the States. A reunion is a nice thought but geographically probably
impossible.

Linda Rothwell
© Linda Rothwell

Ros: It’s so long ago. We are the same but different. We
have our own preoccupations.

John: I don’t think so, no. I’m not really in contact with
Malcolm. I bumped into Eric Eastman about 5 years ago in the street. I might do
something with Linda; we might write something or record something—that would
be nice. I’m thinking about that.

As is customary here at It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine, we
like to leave the last word to our interviewees. Here’s your chance to say
whatever you want to all our readers and in particular the Goliath fans old and
new reading this! We can’t thank you enough for being so generous with your
time in granting us this interview with you all!
Linda: This interview has brought back a lot of memories.
I’ve looked through old pictures of me, Roy Robinson, John Williamson, Polly
Brown, Louisa Jane White, Goliath as a band and many other bands in between.
Boy were we all young, haha! If I get a chance to Skype with John and sing
“Seashore Sands”—which we have both spoke of doing (but he is trying to revise
it)—maybe I will share it if technology will allow. It’s pretty wild to think
of Goliath as a rare collectible bringing in hundreds of dollars for the album
in good shape—especially this many years after the fact—which supports the idea
that I said we were ahead of our time.
Ros: I listen often to Late Junction on BBC Radio 3 these
days; I recommend the ear-bending experience. 
John: Thank you for still appreciating something that meant
a lot to us from that period of time, and I hope you get enjoyment from our
music. I hope you’ll listen to some of the new stuff I’m putting out now
[laughs].

[Sources:
Melody Maker, November 28, 1970, page 22; article written by Mark Plummer.]     



Interesting
Links

Goliath’s
Facebook fan page run by the band members:


Jeramiah
Ferrari: http://jeramiahferrari.com

Great
website covering the Night Train, one of John Williamson’s bands before Goliath:
http://www.manchesterbeat.com/groups/nighttrain/nighttrain.php
and
another covering some of his post-Goliath bands:

Some
background reading on Malcolm and Eric’s earlier bands:
http://www.manchesterbeat.com/groups/beatboys/beatboys.php

Interview made by Sébastien Métens/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
3 Comments
  1. Tor Hershman

    Your blog is amazingly detailed, here's a gift for you
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jMA30_wUNM

  2. TJ

    Thanks for this, I've been waiting for Goliath to show up on the internet someday. Linda Rothwell was a worthy rival to Sonja Kristina, babe-wise. Also a great singer.

  3. Linda Rothwell

    I really enjoyed reading your finished interview Sebastien..thankyou ,I enjoyed the interview.
    Hey thanks for the compliment TJ..but I'm still alive..haha

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