Looking back through the programme for the 1992 UK Convention, I realised that it has been remiss of me not to post anything up to now about Rose Among Thorns featuring Elaine Morgan. They were recommended to us by Ian Burgess, who used to publish the Fairport fanzine “The Ledge”, and he sent me a 1988 cassette of Masquerade which was their name before Rose Among Thorns. Subsequently I went to see them perform at The Half Moon in Putney and was convinced that they would make a good support band for the early evening slot on the bill. I got to meet Elaine before the show and interviewed her for a radio programme I was involved with at the time and, as things turned out, found that she and the band were more than happy to play at the Convention as they were Tull fans and, more importantly, were a very good celtic influenced band and a good contrast to the Summer Band who were playing in the evening.
Following on from my piece about Elaine Morgan and Rose Among Thorns, I contacted Chris Groom last night with some questions about his involvement with her and also with Fairport Convention. This is his reply to my questions:
MD: You've done some artwork for Fairport Convention - how did that come about ?
Chris Groom: The Fairport work came as a direct result of my friendship with Pete Fyfe. I’d known Pete for a while and followed the progress of his band Eavesdropper at the Cartoon. Pete, of course, knows just about everyone in the folk world and had started to work as right hand man to Johnny Jones when Jonah set up a booking agency called Stage 1 in the offices above Wimbledon Theatre. Pete knew I was a Fairport fan and had done a bit of sleeve design and artwork for Joe Stead’s Greenwich Village record label, so he set up a meeting at Wimbledon. Jonah said OK, show me some designs for a tour programme cover – this was November 1987 and was for the ‘In Real Time’ tour. I took over a few layouts and one caught his eye and that was it, I was in.
These were pre-Apple Mac days, so I was pasting up artwork on a drawing board, no computer wizardry or photoshop to smooth out the wrinkles! I often wish I had got the call a few years later and I might have become more of a permanent fixture. My two programme covers aren’t the best work I’ve ever done – I’m not keen on the ‘Red & Gold’ illustration at all now – but I quite like the cartoon on the back of the Real Time programme.
MD: How did you get the commission to produce the Rose Among Thorns album artwork?
CG: The Rose Among Thorns job also came through Jonah, so I imagine she had signed up to Stage 1. As I remember, I was asked to come up with a logo for a new band, with Elaine as the lead singer. I sent over a couple of layouts and Jonah asked me to work one up to a slightly better standard for his meeting with Elaine. After that I didn’t hear anything more, until I saw an adapted version of my logo on, I think, a cassette sleeve. With a credit, but I certainly don’t remember artworking the whole sleeve. I think it has subsequently appeared on CD, adapted yet again! With the Jonah connection, it was no coincidence that a couple of years later, I saw Elaine supporting Ralph McTell.
MD: Time to plug your book, Rock in and Around Croydon. This reads as a labour of love and you dug out some fascinating facts about many artists and groups who played in Croydon over the years including many things about the Star Club in Croydon and the artist who played there along with facts about many other worthy venues in the town. Are there things that you were unable to find details of and have subsequently unearthed or have these items disappeared into the vacuum of space!
CG: Since the book came out, many people have contacted me with extra information and occasionally I come across local stories that I would have included had I known – I found a piece only recently about the John Cale ‘chicken’ incident at the Greyhound. All my research for the book was done pre-internet, at least I wasn’t online at the time and it certainly wasn’t the vast archive that it is now. I would have liked a couple more interviews – Kirsty MacColl was on my list, but sadly that can’t happen now. I’ve since spoken to Bill Wyman and Andy Bown for the local paper and they would both have been included had I managed to track them down earlier.
My thanks to Chris for these answers. Seems we have a mutual friend in Pete Fyfe.
One word of warning - Chris used some of the content of my scrapbooks for source material for his book and he used, amongst other things, a rare Beatle’s flyer from the Fairfield Halls in Croydon from 1963 that I had kept safely hidden away and also an article on The Croydon Folk Club which I was involved with at the time.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention” ― Kahlil Gibran
steelmonkey: Thank You for interview and interview sharing. Very Cool.
Apr 21, 2020 2:31:28 GMT
futureshock: Hello again! I hope everyone is staying healthy and applying their newfound isolation-affected times and circumstances to beneficial activities so that years from now we can all tell younger generations how we survived this ordeal smartly as best possible!
May 6, 2020 20:01:02 GMT
nonrabbit: Hello Futureshock! Great to hear from you. Hope you're staying healthy too....a metre apart from any other human (animal?) that tries to cross you path. I'm a librarian in a public library and we've asking people to make a diary of their experiences.....
May 8, 2020 19:20:30 GMT
nonrabbit: in lockdown so that the next generation/s will get detailed answers when they say " What did you do in the Covid lockdown Granda/ Granny"...."Well Sonny, I bought a hell of a lot of toilet paper" Stay safe Futureshock and see you here soon!!
May 8, 2020 19:23:09 GMT
botanicman: IA did an interview with Dan Rather where he revealed publicly that he has COPD.
May 12, 2020 20:39:28 GMT
chester: Do any of you [my fellow JT Forum members] miss watching live sporting events on TV, because of the virus, as much as I do?
May 14, 2020 19:49:33 GMT
steelmonkey: I miss reading about the Golden State Warriors and St Pauli in the second Bundesliga. I keep an eye on the baseball 'A's and the Brazil team, Botoafogo. My EPL Team is Tot Spurs and I take the time to hate two teams :HSV in Germany and Man United.
May 14, 2020 20:44:37 GMT
maddogfagin: Miss the sport on tv especially the football and now that summer is upon us the cricket. I fear that things will take a year or two to get back to how it was before all this shenanigans.
May 15, 2020 6:04:06 GMT
steelmonkey: I miss some watching and reading about sports but not enough to suddenly get interested in the Belarus Football League or Taiwanese baseball. Fans are going pretty far for a fix.
May 16, 2020 20:03:25 GMT
chester: I don't watch very much BUNDESLIGA, but it has returned after two months, with NO FANS allowed in the stadiums. I am starting to follow UFC mixed martial arts, which has returned as well.
May 17, 2020 1:02:36 GMT
tullmatrix: Is there some way to still get the Passion Play complete midi? I pasted the link into my browser and got a message that i was forbidden.
May 17, 2020 23:23:50 GMT
botanicman: Chester, The Plague has made me realize how little I actually do care about sports. I might not spend the time to watch when they do return!
May 19, 2020 11:48:30 GMT
pbinlostangeles: For us in So Cal, first time since 1974 no Long Beach Grand Prix and - apparently - no Indy 500. At least not on Memorial Day. Hopefully, they'll get this virus crud figured out before the start of MotoGP season
May 19, 2020 20:15:30 GMT
chester: NASCAR has restarted it's 2020 season but, like German soccer, to empty grandstands. I think catching a virus is low on the list of dangers that can befall a racing car driver.
May 20, 2020 0:18:21 GMT
chester: I know that I am late to the idea, but I have started wearing a mask while out in public. My Canadian officials have changed their stance from: not recommended to mildly suggested to strongly advised.
May 22, 2020 9:42:52 GMT
steelmonkey: Not only am I doing a zoom meeting in nice shirt and boxer shorts...I am ignoring boss and reading Tull news.
May 27, 2020 21:58:08 GMT
chester: It looks like- with people going back to their jobs- the number of daily guests on the JT Forum has gone back down to the 500s range, instead of the 600s and even 700s.
May 31, 2020 17:57:59 GMT
maddogfagin: Still a more than healthy number of visitors although it's difficult to know what percentage of google "bots" trawl forums doing whatever they do - anyone know what "bots" actually do ?
Jun 1, 2020 13:57:36 GMT