THE RUSS BALLARD BAND
A musician without a band? What works in a studio, remember Russ's first solo record, will never work on stage. That's why Russ is always surrounded by great musicians and ..friends live on stage. Find here short portraits about the members of the Russ Ballard Band.
Bob Henrit by Bob Henrit
Russell and I have been playing together since the time when we had just become spotty teenagers; so if you know how old we are now (Wikipedia will probably help) you’ll be able to ascertain how long that is. I make it we’ve made three score years’ worth of journeys around the sun together?
Believe it or not there was a time not long before this when we weren’t together. I was in a skiffle group, coincidentally called The Roulettes, while RGB and his brother Roy were in a rival one called Rick Nichol and The Rebels. Eventually I joined the Ballard Brothers in firstly ‘Norman Eddy and the Imperials’ then ‘Buster Meikle and
the Daybreakers’. We auditioned successfully for EMI records but even though Russell and myself were ready for stardom, Buster Meikle wasn’t. I was given the chance of a lifetime to play with Adam Faith’s Roulettes and grabbed it whereupon Russell followed me a few months later. We were together again.
While we got on with learning about the business and how to be ‘all round entertainers’ Buster Meikle had perversely decided perhaps he actually did want to be a star and had become part of a vocal group called ‘Unit 4’. We were asked to play on their second record called ‘Concrete and Clay’ and became the eponymous + 2. Against all odds it became a huge million-selling hit around the world. We all came to the end of our time with Terry Nelhams and all us Roulettes set-off for La belle France with a new boss - Richard Anthony.
We came back to the UK not long after England had won the World Cup and we both joined Unit 4 for a year or so whereupon we bumped into Rod Argent who played us a bunch of great songs before asking us to join his new post-Zombies band - Argent. This was just before the end of what the media dubbed the ‘Swinging Sixties’. A few years later came the time when Russell jokingly claims I abandoned him!
Actually I didn’t, I went on playing with Argent followed by a stint with the band’s scaled-down off shoot - Phoenix. Charlie came next followed by extended touring and recording stints with (amongst others) Ian Mathews and Don McLean. Having played on both of Dave Davies’ two albums I was performing in an occasional 10-piece Blues Band called GB Blues Company with Jimmy Rodford and spotted Raymond Douglas Davies in the audience. We spoke afterwards and he invited me to firstly record with The Kinks, then to throw my lot in with them for good.
Quite some time later, RGB called to ask what I was up to because he needed me to play with him. We’d come full-circle and the rest is history. We sped off to Germany and most days we’d sit on the bus telling stories about our life together to the rest of the guys. Firstly to the two Chrisses and Steve; then Skeaty, then Stewie. All of whom lulled me into a false sense of security making me think there was a possibility to put all these anecdotes into print. ‘Banging On!’' was the result of our bus conversations. I’d like to think everything printable about Russell and my life together is laid out there.
But just in case it’s not, come here there’s more. I haven’t finished yet. ‘On the road again’ is my latest offering - coming to an Amazon near you as soon as I stop finding stories to add to it. Oh and while I’m on the subject I’m working on something which is so top secret if I told you about it I’d have to kill you. Watch this space.
Chris is a long time friend and co writer, doing vocals/keys/saxophone & guitar in the band.
He has done years of TV music including worldwide ‘The New Professionals” 13 week series. In 2001 Chris co wrote with Russ the song “No Dream impossible” for Lindsay Dracass. After winning the Song for Europe contest Lindsay and the song represented the UK at the Eurovision. “No Dream Impossible” reached nr 32 in the UK charts in May that year.
Chris co wrote/produced with Russ for his album 'The Seer' and and also co wrote “Hope” (featuring Nelson Mandela) with Russ for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Together they toured Germany/Portugal/Japan/UK.
Chris has had publishing deals with Island/EMI/Universal and BMG and has done numerous albums for Don Reedman/Jeff Jarratt. This year he has written and produced 2 albums with Joe McKelderry for Bill Kenwright.
Steve is a well known session keyboard player and member of the Russ Ballard Band for many years. He toured with Russ in Germany, Portugal, Japan and the United Kingdom!
He is a man with many talents, working in the music business for a very long time as keyboard player, sound engineer, song writer, arranger and producer.
Steve is the owner of the 'Room with a view' recording studio, which opened in 1986.
Story will follow soon.
Bob Skeat is best known as bass-department in the British Rock band Wishbone Ash. From the 60s to the 80s he was one of the top session musicians in the UK.
He toured Germany and Portugal with Russ.
Chris Childs is a well known British bass player who played with artists like Paul Young, Andy Summers, Colin Blunstone and of course Russ Ballard. Since 1996 he is member of the hard rock band Thunder and plays also the bass in Tyketto and Ultimate Eagles.
He toured with Russ several times in Germany.