This interview was first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 31 July. Co-founder and guitarist Graeme Taylor chats about the band and selects some of his favourite tracks – both from Gryphon and from those artists who have inspired/influenced his music over the years.
In 1973, the folk/rock band Gryphon were described in ‘Melody Maker’ as “The 13th Century Slade”. Influenced by the burgeoning early music scene, inspired by the late David Munrow, the band melded folk, medieval and rock influences.
Royal College Of Music graduates Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland, together with Graeme Taylor and one-time heavy metal drummer Dave Oberle, were equally at home playing in front of giggling schoolgirls at the V&A in London as they were in massive arenas (they toured in the USA with Yes in 1974/5).
The band’s debut album in 1973 featured a mix of medieval dances and original material. The follow-up ‘Midnight Mushrumps’ pushed them more in the direction of progressive although retaining the early instrumentation. By the time of 1974′s ‘Red Queen To Gryphon Three’ this approach was more fully developed.Read more...
After 1975′s ‘Raindance’ Taylor and bassist Malcolm Bennett left and the band soldiered on for one more album, 1977′s ‘Treason’ but they failed to recapture their earlier success.
A reunion had been mooted for some time and, finally, in June 2009 the original band performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London followed by a series of dates in spring 2015.
In 2016, ahead of a further set of dates, Richard Harvey announced that he was leaving the band to concentrate on his work, including touring, with film composer Hans Zimmer.
Gryphon reconstituted with Rory McFarlane (bass) who also works with Taylor in his other main musical interest, Home Service, and Keith Thompson (ex-City Waites) on woodwinds. Additional instrumentalist Graham Preskett worked with the band in 2009.
The band play several dates, including Cropredy, in August followed by a gig at Union Chapel, London on 16 September.
On Sunday 31 July at 18:00 GMT, Graeme Taylor chats about the band in a one-hour special on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The station’s David Randall was a big fan back in 1973/4 and confided to Graeme that around that time he and a friend had formed a medieval folk duo and were also not averse to dressing up in doublet and hose. The music, he hastened to add, wasn’t just an excuse to dress up in the gear!
Says David “I was heavily into the history of the period and inspired by the music and enthusiasm of the late David Munrow who in the early 1970s fronted The Early Music Consort of London. Gryphon appeared on the scene at just the right time and provided an irresistible and infectious concoction of crumhorns and cornamuse the like of which had scarcely been seen in a rock and roll context.”
THU 11TH CROPREDY, Oxfordshire http://www.fairportconvention.com/
FRI 12TH – GODALMING, Farncombe Live, St Johns Church, St.John’s Street, Farncombe, Godalming, Surrey GU7 3EJ
£20 (adv) £24 (door) Tickets -01483 421520 http://www.eventim.co.uk/ http://www.wegottickets.com/julianlewrymusic
TUES 16TH – BILSTON, Robin 2, 20-28 Mount Pleasant, Bilston WV14 7LJ
£17.50 (adv) £19.50 (door) www.therobin.co.uk
WED 17TH – SOUTHAMPTON, The Talking Heads, 16-22 Polgon, Southampton SO15 2BN 7.30pm
£18 adv http://talkingheads.vticket.co.uk/product.php?xProd=565
Fri. 16th: LONDON, Union Chapel, Compton Terrace N1 2UN
£22.50 (adv) + booking fee 7pm http://store.unionchapel.org.uk/events/16-sep-16-gryphon-union-chapel/
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!