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 Post subject: Chris Spedding & Sharks
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2023 5:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:26 am
Posts: 1113
On Saturday evening in Shoreditch (east London) I attended the premiere of "Not A Rock-Doc: A Shark's Tail", which details the reunion of the band and its ultimately unsuccessful attempts to be viable in the 21st century.

Vocalist Stephen W. Parsons (formerly known as Snips & Mr Snips) and guitarist Chris Spedding (who needs no introduction here) were present at the screening (as was pianist Nick Judd, who for some reason wasn't introduced). SWP did an interview with music journalist Chris Salewicz afterwards and an audience Q&A.

The film was alternately funny and sad; SWP & Spedding are a comedic odd couple (with Spedding as the po-faced straight man), but how such a talented group can fail to attract more than a small, dedicated audience is a mystery bordering on tragedy (their post-reformation London gigs at the Borderline, the 100 Club & the Lexington were unmissable).

The band had originally been conceived by Island Records owner Chris Blackwell as a vehicle for bassist Andy Fraser following the demise of Free. Why it was ever referred to as a "supergroup" is unclear, as Spedding was a highly regarded session musician with jazz-rock leanings (he had played with Ian Carr's Nucleus), but no real recording history, while Snips' tenure with Ginger in the Baker Gurvitz Army was still in the future.

Fraser decamped after the first album, having been unhappy from the start; according to SWP, having had to split the Free song writing royalties with Paul Rodgers, AF had expected to be the sole writer in Sharks; a notion of which he was soon disabused!

Fraser was apparently also on record as stating that he'd expected to be the lead vocalist as well as bassist; SWP told us that this was nonsense (he may have used a stronger word! lol), as Jess Roden, Robert Palmer and even Leo Sayer had been considered by Blackwell before SWP arrived on the scene!

The band burned brightly in Europe and the USA between 1972 and 1974, before a hiatus of four decades (even Roxy would be impressed with that "rest period" lol) and its ultimately unsuccessful reformation. SWP made it clear that he is now officially retired, so there will be no more.

For anyone interested, the Lexington gig which turned out to be the band's swansong was recorded and is on the horizon as a live CD, together with a five disc boxed set (it was unclear how much of this is previously unreleased material). In line with Sharks' tragi-comic history, both have been delayed by an illness which has afflicted the record label boss.

It is hoped that the film will also get a DVD release at some point.

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