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If Our Love Was Just A Circus

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Ex-Elton Drummer Charlie Morgan Talks To George Matlock
Sunday 21 March 1999 @ 2:00 - GMT

Conducted by George Matlock at the EJ fan Convention March 20, 1999

 

 

The Versace-clad dark stage vibrated with synth and anticipation of another great Elton show, as it would for 13 years when the tough man holding the band hostage to his rhythm was present.

 

Often tense and stern behind the cymbals, it was easy to mistake Elton's drummer as an almost menacing presence when "The Bitch Is Back" or "Saturday Night's Alright" were served up.

 

But it's only when you meet Charlie Morgan, face-to-face, that you are won over by the real man. Quite unassuming, gentle, not neurotic, and he doesn't want to punch the glasses off your face!

 

And it's only when you talk with him you discover something else. His excellent memory for dates and events puts Elton fans like myself to shame. He's a profound intellectual with a sense of humour.

 

Far from hardman, he's had trouble with concert security - and he understands the fans. At the June 1998 Wembley gigs, Charlie tried parking his then-Volvo car in the compound and heading for rehearsals.

 

"The security are particularly awful there. I tried to park the car and the attendant said 'you can't park it there!'. I said 'I'm Elton's drummer' displaying my Access All Areas badge. He replied: 'I don't care. You may be, but your car isn't!'"

 

No strong arm tactics, just a gentle call to band manager Keith Bradley on the mobile was needed to rescue the situation!

 

He might have been excused displaying niceties when this interview was conducted March 20, 1999, at the EJ Convention, Albany Hotel, Earl's Court, London. For one thing, Charlie used to live just around the corner in the next street, and was worried his car may be awarded a parking clamp - rendering his journey to his gig in Kingston that night unenforceable!

 

For another, he'd just wrapped up the end of a marriage, attending to a settlement generously in his spouse's favour the day before at London's High Court, a divorce which he said was likely accelerated by last year's shock decision by Elton to release him from the band.

 

But this man, who reckons his exit from the band may be because he was the only British citizen among the band, is "looking like a True Survivor."

 

Unlike his predecessor in the Elton John Band - Nigel Olsson - and someone Charlie can relate to (himself victim to a sudden departure from the band for the last time in 1984), Charlie's keeping his wrists nimble, playing in south-west London with the Papa George Band and the Barnes Blues Band, and aiming to move to the United States in April to be with his new love in Orlando, Florida.

 

Even between Elton tours, Charlie was an active drummer with long-time friend Papa George, a gravelly-voiced singer and guitarist of Greek descent, and this was a fun thing which kept him tuned, he says. His wife didn't appreciate him doing extra gigs. He bought a BMW 750 to caddy his drum kit, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

As is Charlie's roll call of achievements a true drum roll. Let's cherry pick just a few here: worked on albums with Judie Tzuke, Clannad, Nik Kershaw (including the 1984 number one hit single "Wouldn't it be good"), Tina Turner, Kate Bush, Paul McCartney, Gary Moore, Chris de Burgh, Eros Ramazzotti, Beverley Craven, and Tasmin Archer's number one hit single "Sleeping satellite".

 

Oh, yes, and Elton John!

 

He's also co-written three albums of theme tunes & jingles with bass player Andy Pask, one of which will be known to British television buffs as the theme tune to the ITV crime series "The Bill" - a powerful drum sequence.

 

He's recently collaborated on new tracks with both Andy Pask and guitarist Nigel Jenkins, as well as completing tracks with Elton John keyboard technician Tom Pearce.

 

His latest project was at the famous Abbey Road studios, London on March 18, 1999, setting some drum sequences for a Mauri album by New Zealand soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

 

Born in 1955, in Hammersmith (same location, different year to this interviewer!!), London, Charlie learned piano at nearby Latymer School, but went on to teach himself the art of drums.

 

His first major breaks were helping on Kate Bush's "Lionheart" album in 1978 and a world tour with the Tom Robinson Band in 1979.

 

It would be another six years before Elton fans took any notice of this beat behemoth.

 

"I did a lot of sessions in the late 70s, early 80s. I did Nik Kershaw's first three albums," says Charlie. "Nik was on Elton's 'Nikita' on the 'Ice on Fire' album, and Elton said 'I like your drummer on the album, what's he like?' Nik said I was great."

 

But Charlie recalls how Elton producer Gus Dudgeon "wasn't sure about using an unknown quantity, so he phoned Peter Collins, Nik's producer, who gave me a glowing report."

 

Next thing, Charlie got a phone call from someone saying: "I can't tell you who it's for, but I want to book you for three days' worth of sessions at the Mill Studios."

 

Charlie was to go into studio midweek after Easter in 1985, he easily recalls. "Funny thing is I was motor-racing the day before on the Bank Holiday in my Golf GTi, and I had a huge accident. I broke two ribs. I went to Sidcup Hospital and they said don't do anything for six weeks. I said 'you've got to be kidding' because by now I knew who (the sessions) were for. A week before the sessions they confirmed it was for Elton John and I'll do two or three tracks."

 

That would spawn the tracks "This Town", "Wrap Her Up", a couple of tracks which also didn't make it to album, and then Cliff Richard turned up and they did "Slow Rivers" in advance of the album which followed "Ice on Fire", the oft underrated "Leather Jackets".

 

And how did Charlie react? "He's been a hero of mine for years. The first album I ever bought - not for the drums - was Elton's black cover Elton John album in 1970." Yes, he confided, he's a FAN!

 

Band members are hired hands for the gigs. But Charlie's a genuine Elton fan. "The album which changed my approach to music the most was "Madman Across the Water". That just blew me to pieces, particularly the string arrangements and the superb drumming. I just played it to death, I wore it out."

 

When Charlie joined Elton's band in 1985, a weary biker arrived with a pile of albums - all of Elton's albums up to 1985 - and all in heavy vinyl!

 

Despite being a fan, Charlie knew how to separate his fandom from the professional approach expected of a band member. "By the time I met Elton, I'd been working professionally for 12 years, and a fairly seasoned session player.  I was used to just walking into a situation cold and laying tracks down."

 

Charlie's first live concert with Elton was Live Aid in June 1985 at Elton's invitation. "I'm probably more scared doing small gigs like the one tonight (Papa George Band at Kingston's Grey Horse) than Wembley Stadium. You walk out there, and stage is too big. You hardly see the first two rows of people, and the rest is just a sea of people. You're hearing the reaction. And we were a 13-piece band so there was plenty of room to hide, ha, ha!"

 

Charlie holds much affection for percussionist Ray Cooper. "He stamped his persona on everything. So, as Davey said, the 'Ghost of Ray' lives on whenever something out of the ordinary happens on stage," he says. "He was a true gentleman, and I loved him for that."

 

Ray was also a maniac. "The number of times someone shouted 'duck' as a drum stick went flying past."

 

But did he compete with Elton for centre stage? "I think there was an element of that. But you have to remember that Ray's older than anyone else. He couldn't do it, the arthritis sets in! The only person unaffected by this is Elton. Totally unstoppable. I couldn't keep up with him 13 years ago let alone now!"

 

His favourite Elton album? "Apart from Madman, I think I played even more to death Captain Fantastic. But the most fun to work on was "Made In England" and the most organic. Having said that, "Reg Strikes Back" was fun, even though Elton was at a low ebb.

 

Charlie's worked on every Elton studio album from "Ice on Fire" in 1985 through to "The Big Picture" in 1997, although there was an interlude off when Jonathan Moffett was drummer on "Sleeping with the Past" in 1989 and most of "The One" (1992) was done with drum sequencers. So that's six albums and one live album (with the MSO in 1987 - the famous Elton throat problem album).

 

Working with Elton? Apparently he's in awe of his band and works well with their changes on tours. "We are hired hands and we give the live acts everything we've got. Some of you people have got bootleg mixes off the desk..." (silence and vacant whistles prevail from audience!). "If you listen to the 1985-86 tour you can see how songs changed. When he started playing "Rocket Man" in October 1985 it had that bit at the end and it lasted about three minutes. By the time we played with the MSO in Australia, it had extended itself to 12 minutes, just that section! The brass came in. Nothing was rehearsed. Everything was led by Elton. He's fabulous to work with on stage."

 

Charlie said that as a drummer he had to empathise with what Elton's doing. "I used to have him very loud in my mix on in-ear monitors. My engineer knew to put lots of Elton piano and vocals, and then bass is the next thing, and then everything else mixed in behind. But it was important to ensure I could lock into Elton, and then everyone else could lock into me."

 

Elton's got the most funky left hand. We know that, but Charlie thinks so too!

 

"Bass player Bob Birch (he's also a great piano and sax player) is able to work in between what Elton plays, otherwise there would be a great mess down there (on low octaves) as Elton plays great boogie-woogie on low notes. If ever Elton didn't like what we were doing, he'd tell us before a gig."

 

Normally the objections were about tempo. "I was always trying to keep the tempos close to what we did in the studio for the albums. And I think Elton appreciated this, because things tend to get played faster (on stage) and he didn't want to play at break-neck speed

 

"In fact, "The One" was played slower than on the album because Elton wanted it slowed down. By the end of 1992 we slowed it down to a bigger, grander, breathing animal. Then on other things, like "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters Part Two" we always played it faster because the original was a medium tempo funk and we turned it into a rockier number. Again, Elton wanted it this way. As a boss, Elton relies on people around him to do their work and homework before a tour."

 

But Elton doesn't like over-rehearsing songs because everyone's bored otherwise. "We would always go into a concert first night feeling slightly under-rehearsed. It was then up to us to keep it together and things slotted in. But over time songs would mutate," he says.

 

Some songs had little flexible room, such as "Something About the Way You Look Tonight", which stayed the same throughout.

 

"Sad Songs", however, was speeded up. "This was originally drum machine. Elton turned it into a more gospelly song with the girls singing. A much heavier song by the end. Funnily enough, on the last tour, Elton asked for us to slow it down again. He would start it by setting the tempo. Most of his songs have a piano intro, allowing him to determine the speed he wants to play at."

 

Aida? "Most of it was Guy Babylon and drum machines at Purple Dragons Studios in Atlanta. We didn't work on those. But I remember when we were rehearsing (for a tour) Elton came in and wrote the songs in two stints of five days. Writing about 10 or 12 tracks on each stint. Then Disney cut it to the 14 songs."

 

Before his departure from the band, Charlie was the only UK resident on board. "There was a time when in 1985/86 the entire brass section were UK residents, David Paynton the bass player was UK, all the singers were UK too, Shirley Lewis, Alan Carvell, and Gordon Neville. It was only Davey Johnstone and Fred Mandell who were US residents.

 

"So I was always a bit on a limb because I was always dealing with the management in the UK, they were dealing with management in the US. I became separated from the rest of the guys. They were seeing each other socially all the time.

 

"The only time I did so see them socially was for instance in September 1997. I went over to Los Angeles ahead of the tour rehearsals and John Mahon (percussionist) and Bob Birch took me up the Burbank Hills to do some mountain biking. I'm keen on mountain biking.

 

"I never saw much of them off the road. When we played in LA they were at home. And when we played here, I was at home. You're not going to put someone up in a hotel if they live 20 miles away. It was different on the road. It's a false environment, and an extended family. I became separated. And I had huge problems with my marital life for three years. My wife tried to change me, stop doing what I wanted to do. Finally, I left her about a year ago. And my situation now is great."

 

Humour's a good thing here. Women may try for years to alter their husbands. Then complain 'you're just not the man I married'! Charlie laughs.

 

"It has to be a very strong relationship when you're on the road so much. My wife shut herself off. My fiancee understands me and backs me all the way."

 

Charlie hopes to join her in the USA. He's applied for US residence, his Green Card. He already has a work VISA, and a house owned in Orlando, and hopes to work out of Nashville. "I think Elton is aware I will be US resident, and I will be in touch with the guys in the band."

 

The rapport's still there. And will he return to the band? "The door's not been closed. This has happened before. It's not the first time I've left the band. But we're contracted on a tour by tour basis, and there's always a chance I'll be picked up on the next tour."

 

Charlie, echoing comments to Hercules by guitarist John Jorgenson last year when the shock news of Charlie's release was announced, admitted: "Sometimes change is a good thing. Elton hadn't changed the band for a long time."

 

The fans are choking to know, why did Elton release Charlie last year? In his own words: "I don't know. I think, and it's only my conjecture, that a lot of politics were going on with the change of management (which happened in May 1998). What went wrong with Elton's long-time connection with John Reid I don't quite know.

 

"But being the only UK resident, I got caught up in a lot of problems over my salary. There was a period when I hadn't been paid for six months. The management had changed, and the money stopped coming in. I'd just left my wife, so she wasn't phoning up the management to ask where the money was, and I was on tour!

 

"I got angry and made noises I might not go on the next tour. The only wedge I could drive to get paid. It was all sorted out in the end by the new management."

 

Charlie thinks that a lot of it was misunderstanding. "And I don't think Elton was even aware of any of this. Elton was an innocent bystander to this, as indeed was I to a large extent."

 

In Charlie's assessment, ex-Elton manager John Reid is also innocent. "John's biggest crime was delegating responsibility to the wrong person. There was one person in particular I barely spoke to, whom I'd fallen foul of, and in mid-1995 Elton made this person come out and apologise to me for the way they'd treated me after I had resigned from the band."

 

Charlie feels the new management was left worrying he wouldn't tour. "But I didn't get a chance to tell them I wouldn't have left them in the lurch. When I was talking about leaving the band, I was talking about three or four months' notice."

 

In January 1998, Charlie caught up with (JRE) management two days before the band headed for New Orleans, to broker a wage rise. "They thought that if the matter doesn't get sorted out today, I won't get on the plane. I said 'No! There's no way I'd do that. Millions of dollars are at stake, and thousands and thousands of fans. I know that two days beforehand, there's no way you can get a replacement drummer'. I was only trying to open mature dialogue as I'd not had a wage rise in four years."

 

As a UK resident, Charlie also felt the cost of living in Britain (higher) justified a raise too. "Very slowly, we opened dialogue, but that all went sour when things went to pieces."

 

Charlie blames middle management for creating a smoke screen at JRE. "The policy was to hide as much as possible from Elton and John Reid. Pour as much smoke in as possible and run around like headless chickens. As the only UK resident, I fell foul of that more than anyone else."

 

Charlie feels John Reid has been embroiled in "a sad situation, he's as much a victim. But I also respect the new management. I've known Colin (Bell) since he was Tom Robinson's manager in the 1970s. He's doing a great job, and deserves it."

 

Returning to his new love, Charlie admits he met her on the internet. Yes, there is hope for all you anoraks out there!!

 

Charlie was the band's pioneer at setting up a web site in 1995.

 

"Yes, during the autumn of 1997 I had a well-established web site for a couple of years, and I was writing reports with a digital camera on a weekly basis. Several people knew my AOL screen name I was using at the time, and when I went on at night I'd get instant messages for "Bob Barnet" (Barnet an English colloquial term for head of hairs. Like this interviewer, Charlie is also follically challenged!).

 

"There were messages from a lady called "Laura" who lived just south of Atlanta. She was 14 year old and a very keen Elton fan. She loved animals. She told me all about her life. Owned and looked after a horse. She said she was going to the Tallahassee concert on 21 November 1997. She told me her mother would drive her down, wait for her, and drive her back. I thought they must love each other a lot, get on well, especially for a 14 year old! She told me they were very close."

 

So impressed was Charlie by the family tie, he managed to reserve Laura's mother a ticket to the show!

 

He agreed to meet them in the hotel lobby before the concert. "I had no idea what Laura looked like, let alone the mother!" Charlie was already in the midst of marital problems. "Basically, we met in the lobby, Laura said to me she's a mad blonde. There was this young blonde lady, Jerry-Lynn, who is about the same age as me. Davey had mentioned these health products, and she sold them. After the show, we talked in the bar to practically three or four in the morning!"

 

Love at first (web) sight, although the relationship didn't develop until January 1998. "We're very much soul-mates."

 

Charlie thinks they'll marry. His divorce came through two weeks ago, and a settlement was reached a day ago.

 

At this stage, we open the interview up to Convention goers to panel some questions. David Wright seeks verification of his story about the Australian incident involving dope allegedly dropped overboard a boat. "I was there," says Charlie, "but I don't remember it. Probably I was in the shark-infested water swimming! I think that story could be a flight of fancy."

 

Edinburgh fan Steven Betts asked how Charlie gets on with fellow Scot Davey Johnstone. "Very well. He's a good musical director, able to smooth over troubles. He tries to translate what Elton wants from us before shows."

 

Paul Goddard asks is Charlie friends with Bernie? "Don't see much of him. We respect his low profile. He turns up for opening nights in the US, and anywhere near LA.

 

At this stage I can't resist a quip: He's low key, and signs just Taupin on albums. But then, he is as well known as Shakespeare!

 

And where does Charlie get his own inspiration from? He says he admires from the early days Ian Pace from Deep Purple, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd's Keith Moon. He also admires Ringo Starr, the underrated drummer of the Beatles.

 

Although Nigel Olsson was also a big influence on Charlie, and he had to try to follow closely Elton's back catalogue to Nigel's original beat, their styles were very different.

 

"I wouldn't call it trying to mimic Nigel. I'd say it was more of a tribute to him. Certain drum fills had to be played the way he had done them. In others, I introduced some of my own style."

 

Charlie says that on "Don't Let the Sun" and "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" he had to slave to Nigel's style: "It's the huge great slow rock ballad style which Nigel pioneered with Elton's music."

 

Sadly, Nigel isn't practising nimble fingers anymore. But Charlie has no Bitter Fingers either! As well as supporting the Papa George Band, he does session work. Two weeks ago he did a session for a film soundtrack which Iceland's Bjork is scoring. That was a challenge. They said it would be 1940s-style Big Band. Sure, the drums fitted the description, but most of the beat required was a break-dance technique!

 

Prior to Christmas, Charlie supported old friend Tom Robinson for a couple of weeks at the Birmingham outpost of Britain's most famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott's. "We've also recorded some tracks in my studio for Tom's new album."

 

Charlie remains a co-owner of Black Barn Studios in Ripley, and is also a partner in record label Bridge Recordings.

 

"I'm seeing a lot of Tom. He's been a real support actually. One of the best bosses I ever had. I have a tremendous debt of gratitude."

 

Among his association with Tom 20 years ago, Charlie recorded with him the Elton/Robinson classic "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" - a disco version in 1979 for a Gay Pride week album. They also toured the US and Europe that year.

 

As well as motorsport and mountain biking, Charlie enjoys swimming. He avoids high-impact sports like running because a while ago he slipped a disc.

 

We wanted to know whether that was from lifting Elton's wardrobe. "No from lifting his wig in 1986! In 1985 he had the Christmas wig, with all the lights on this tower of a thing. They asked Elton what's with the handbag and he replied, 'that's the batteries!'"

 

Closing off the interview, we return 'back to the future'. Internet-enthusiast Charlie has some advice for Davey Johnstone. Davey told Hercules in Zurich last June that he's not much interested in web sites and will be enjoying a cool drink on January 1, 2000, when computers crash and users freak out.

 

"He'll be enjoying a nice cool drink, while his fax machine blows up, his air conditioning unit goes to town, while his cellular phone ceases to work, and the gas, water and electricity stop working, failing to chill his drinks because the local company provider hasn't got its system Y2K compatible. So I'm not sure about that!"

 

George: Well, thank you very much Charlie Morgan. It's been a pleasure.

 

Audience: round of applause.

 

____________________________________________________

 

Short Biog

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Born 1955, Hammersmith, London. Educated at Chiswick & Bedford Park

Preparatory and Latymer Upper Schools.

Musical training includes 2 years of piano whilst still at school.

Mainly self-taught in drums (apart from a handful of lessons from James

Blades).

Left school in 1973 to tour Germany with a rock band. The following 2

years saw a variety of different bands (mostly unsuccessful), until

1975, which saw the first excursions into session work.

Work on Kate Bush's 'Lionheart' album in 1978 and a World tour with the

Tom Robinson band in 1979 were the first major breaks.

Session experience also includes advertising jingles and TV shows too

numerous to list, and programming drum computers and MIDI sequencers

(currently about 50% of the time).

Several years as research/test drummer for Simmons Electronics in the

mid 1980's provided invaluable experience in the MIDI and sequencing

fields.

Recently, acted as consultant for Premier Percussion during the

development of the Signia and Genista lines in their range

Co-written 3 albums of theme tunes & jingles with bass player, Andy

Pask.

One of these tracks has been chosen as the theme for 'The Bill' TV

series.

Recently collaborated with both Andy Pask and guitarist, Nigel Jenkins,

on new tracks, as well as completing tracks with Elton John keyboard

technician, Tom Pearce.

Recent projects include Chris Farlowe's new album, an album for EMI

signing (UK Best Newcomer) Tasmin Archer, tracks for Gary Moore, the

video for Kate Bush's 'Rocket Man' cover on the 'Two Rooms' album, and

album tracks for Epic signing, Martyn Joseph.

Completed a 14 month (160 date) sell-out World Tour in 1992/3 as Elton

John's drummer.

An album of drum loops (Master Drums) on CD-ROM and CD audio sold well

enough to prompt two sequels (Master Drums 2 and 3) and two new sample

CDs (Past Masters & The Premier Collection).

1994 saw completion of an album produced by George Martin, for Larry

Adler's 80th birthday, working with such diverse artists as Lisa

Stansfield, Chris de Burgh, Kate Bush and Cher, as well as studio work

on Elton John's new album, 'Made In England' and orchestral tracks on

the new Chris de Burgh album, 'This Way Up'.

Master Drums II was also recorded and released in 94.

During the summer of 1994, toured with the double bill of Elton John and

Billy Joel, which took in 25 dates in 12 major cities across the USA.

This tour concluded in April 1995, followed by a 9 month World tour with

Elton John.

Early 1996: recorded 3 singles with Elton John - one a duet with Luciano

Pavarotti.

Completed first production - a S. African act, Jive Nation (also played

percussion, sang backups and played keyboards), and drummed on

grunge/metal 3-piece,Fleshdevils, debut album.

Currently co-owner of Black Barn Studios in Ripley, and partner in

record label (Bridge Recordings).

 

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Select discography

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Judie Tzuke    3 albums, 2 tours 1981-89

Clannad   Magic Ring 1983-4

Nik Kershaw    3 albums 1984-5 (Inc 'Wouldn't it be good' single)

Tina Turner    Thunderdome single 1984-5

Tracey Ullman    2 albums 1984-5

Elton John    4 albums, 2 World Tours 1985-7

Kate Bush    3 albums 1986-92

Paul McCartney    album 1987

Pete Townsend    album (Iron Man) 1988

Gary Moore    tracks on 3 albums 1985-9

Rossana Casale    album (Italy) 1988

Paul Norton    Southern Sky Album (Australia) 1989

Chris de Burgh    album tracks 1989

Terry,Blair & Anouchka    album 1989

Elton John    Australian tour 1990

Breathe    Peace of Mind (Programming) 1990

David Knopfler    album tracks 1990

Living in a Box    album tracks 1990

Eros Ramazzotti    In Ogni Senso: Album 1990

Claudio Baglioni    Oltre: album 1990

Beverley Craven    3 Tours & album tracks 1990/91

Kate Bush    Rocket Man (2 Rooms) 1991

Tasmin Archer    Great Expectations: Album 1992 (Inc single 'Sleeping

satellite')

Martyn Joseph    Being There: Album 1992

Tasmin Archer    Shipbuilding EP 1992/3

Kate Bush    Red Shoes (album) 1993

Roger Whittaker    new album 1993/4

Chris de Burgh    This Way Up (album) 1994

Larry Adler    The Glory of Gershwin 1995

Elton John    Made In England 1995

Elton John & Pavarotti    Live Like Horses 1996

Elton John    The Big Picture 1997

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appeared Live with:

------------------------------------------------------------------------

1972/3: The Sunday Band: (!) (pub rock band, whilst still at school -

John Edwards played bass, Ronnie Johnson on guitar etc...)

1973/4: Renegade Jones: (Rock Band touring US bases in Germany)

1974/5: Conkers: (band that became the Kate Bush Band - UK college

dates)

1975: Rococo: (Rock band with John Edwards on Bass, Rod Halling on

guitar etc...)

1976: The Spam Band: (toured France summer 1976, with - yes - John

Edwards on bass... again)

1978: The Bishops: (UK dates)

1979: Tom Robinson Band: (UK, Europe, USA tours)

1980/81: Alibi: (UK dates + Irish tour)

1981/2: Judie Tzuke: (UK, Europe tours)

1983: White & Torch: (UK tour)

1985: Live Aid: (first gig with Elton)

1985/6: Elton John: (World Tour)

1989: Daniela Guichard: (concerts in Paris)

1989/90: Elton John: (World tour + Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City)

1990: Beverley Craven: (3 tours of Europe!)

1990    Henry Mancini & the RPO. Tour of Japan

1990 Prince's Trust concert. Wembley

Oleta Adams, Taylor Dane, Chaka Khan, The Moody Blues, Lisa Stansfield

etc...

1992/3: Elton John: (World tour)

1993 At the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Trust concert (Madison Square

Gardens):

George Michael, Bruce Hornsby, Lionel Ritchie.

1994: Elton John & Billy Joel: (US/Canadian tour)

1995: Elton John & Billy Joel (see separate story)

1995: APLA concert: (AIDS Project Los Angeles: backing band for 20

artists supporting the cause.)

1995: Elton John: (World tour)

1997/8: Elton John: (World tour)

Miscellaneous:

Several Prince's Trust concerts.

Short tour with Glen Campbell (UK)

Willy Finlayson

Ronnie Johnson (Rope shows 90/91)

Papa George

Hugh Burns

 

 

Mar. 20 '99 - The Elton convention-goers are in for a surprise and a

treat as Charlie walks through the door. There is thunderous applause

when it is announced that he is there... He was 'treated royally' and

signed HEAPS of autographs before having to run off to the gig at the

Grey Horse in Kingston. More to come at a later date about this

appearance. 

 * * *

 

Mar. 19 '99 - The Barnes Blues Band at it once again for the crowd at

the Bull's Head. This time round, Rob Cargill (Rob-UK) and George

Matlock - Hercules UK Prez (thanks guys!) bound for the Elton convention

in London the next day, stop by to check out Charlie's gig. A great time

was had by all...check out the first hand review by Rob. 

 * * *

 

Mar. 18 '99 - Charlie was in Studio 2 at Abbey Road...setting some

'happy drumming' tracks for a Mauri album by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the

famous NZ soprano. 

 * * *

 

 

Mar. 14 '99 - Warner Big Blues Weekend - Opening for the Hamsters, one

of the most prolific UK band (300 gigs this year!), the Papa George Band

blew them to pieces. Afterwards, Reverend Otis Elevator, the Hamsters

drummer was heard to say to Charlie "So, which one of your arms can I

break?"  

 * * *

 

Mar 13 '99 - The Globe in Brentford played host to the boys and their

killer music. 

 * * *

 

Mar. 7 '99 - The Barnes Blues Band played a lunch gig to friends and

fans at the Bull's Head 

 

Barnes

(for the geographically clueless <g>)

 

* * *

 

Mar. 6 '99 - Signing autographs was the activity of the day before

dashing back down the German autobahns heading for the Channel Tunnel

and home (up early for the gig tomorrow).* * *

 

Mar. 5 '99 - At the Frankfurt Music Fair, the world's largest of it's

kind, Charlie bowls 'em over at the helm of the 'Resonator', playing a

lineup of Fleshdevils tunes to an enthusiastic crowd whose

applause demanded an encore...the AKG Drummer Party is a smashing

success. 

 * * *

 

Mar. 2 '99 - Charlie was in the studio with Bjork recording. Curious

what it sounded like? "Big band jazz meets hip-hop". Hmmmm...sounds a

bit confusing to me! 

 * * *

 

Feb. 27 '99 - Charlie dug out the big kit for this gig...his Premier

Black Shadow "Resonator"...with count 'em, 4 toms (you might recognize

this one from the "Elton John - Live In Australia" video.) The boys

packed 'em into the Fielder & Firkin in Sutton, Surrey and the gig was a

"stonker" (yep, it's a noun too

* * *

 

Feb. 20 '99 - Then played a storming gig in Windsor Castle in

Carshalton, Surrey to finish off the week. 

 

 * * *

 Feb. 19 '99 - Moving on to the good ol' Bull's Head on Friday night. 

 

 * * *

 Feb. 17 '99 - This week was almost a mini-tour...starting off tonight

in Weybridge. 

 * * *

 Feb. 13 '99 - Did a "stonking" gig at the Station Tavern, a small smoky

pub with heaps of atmosphere, in North Kensington, London. 

  * * *

 

Feb. 12 '99 - Papa George...Bull's Head...great show. What more needs to

be said?