THE BILL HUNT INTERVIEW

By Martin Kinch

December 1999

Bill and Martin - 1999

MK: Bill, I first got to know of you when you were doing sessions for The Move,Tell us a bit about what you did before that...

BH: Before The Move I‘d been involved in bands round Birmingham, One of them was Breakthru, they used to do Radio 1 live appearances, I spent three months in Zurich with that band working over there. We were working in hotels and various places following other Birmingham bands like Black Sabbath that used to do a circuit over there. Then after that I was with a band called Hannibal, another band called Saffron in and around Birmingham, I think it was from Saffron that I heard at the Midland Art Centre that Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne had been in looking for a horn player to join their new set up.

MK: So what was the first band you were with that actually went on to record anything?

BH: I don’t think we did much recording with The Breakthrough, but with Hannibal we did an album with a producer and the management of Black Sabbath who had just had a big hit with their album Paranoid, their first album. We had the same management and the same producer I can’t remember his name at the moment, Roger something. So ‘course we thought Black Sabbath have been successful we thought well this is it for us we‘re gonna crack it but nothing much happened.

MK: You released one album and there was a single as well wasn’t there?

BH: From Hannibal? I’m not really sure about that there may have been. I know the album has just been re-released by something called Retro Records or something like that in Germany they’ve just brought it out on CD. I haven’t listened to it so I can’t tell you what it’s like!

MK: Well I’m sure a lot of people haven’t actually heard it so I think it would be quite nice to play a track, they are quite long tracks but there is a short-ish track called Look Upon Me - shall we play that one?

BH: Yeah great I’ll look forward to it. (Plays Look Upon Me)

MK: OK that's Hannibal, a track called Look Upon Me. Did you do any touring, any gigs with the band at all?

BH:Yeah, the way that Hannibal came together, there was a band called Bakerloo around Birmingham that featured a guitarist called Clem Clemson, Clem Clemson was a brilliant young musician who went on to work with John Highsman in Coliseum and became a big session guitarist, with his manager Jim Simpson from Birmingham, Jim had funded an album for Bakerloo and shortly after, virtually at the same time, Clem Clemson left to do other things so Jim Simpson had got this album that he wanted promoting in Germany so we actually did a tour of Germany under that name - Bakerloo, before we changed the name to Hannibal although nobody in the band had played on the album! Such is the business!

MK: So do you still keep in touch with any of them at all or not?

BH: It was based around a guitarist called Adrian Ingram. The first time I met Adrian was at Smethwick Baths. I was in a band and we had lights! We’d heard of their reputation but we thought we’d win the night because we had these coloured lights that used to flash on and off you see and it was really err…. we were impressed by it anyway! But he had this three piece blues band that were known locally, they came on and absolutely blew the place apart he was a fantastic guitarist and although he hadn’t got any education or musical qualifications then, he did get a load,and he had the Guitar Chair at the Leeds School of Music for Jazz he's a brilliant jazz guitarist, he does Jazz gigs now over here and the states and has written books on Wes Montgomery and various guitarists so a very accomplished musician, but he was the main feature of the band - Adrian Ingram, I think all the numbers were written by him.

MK: Do you keep in touch at all?

BH: OH that was the question wasn’t it! Yeah I do occasionally keep in touch with Adrian.

MK: So when did the band split up and were Jeff and Roy calling upon you at the time the band were going or what happened first?

BH: No they didn’t know the band, as I said I heard through friends in Birmingham that Jeff and Bev had been to a place called The Midlands Art Centre which is still going in Birmingham, and a lot of bands then used to rehearse down there at the Art Centre and they’d been down there looking for musicians that played horn and I don’t know how I got the number but I contacted Jeff I think, at his house coz he didn’t live far from me on this big council estate, I lived on one big council estate, he lived on the next one and I think I rang him at home and arranged to go over there and Bev Bevan and Roy Wood were gonna go over at the same time so I sort of drove over there with my horn and went in and just played a few things for them, played piano as well we all got on well and Roy like, turned up an hour later as usual, and that’s how I first met them.

MK:When do you think that would have been? What year was that do you remember?

BH: I think it may have been about 1970

The Move - Down On The Bay on German TV

MK: So you said you’d played on TV with them, did some live work did you record on the last Move album at all do you know?

BH: I did, I got to know them at the time of Message From The Country and I’ve got the acetate upstairs, Roy actually gave me the acetate of that and I don’t know whether I actually played on that or just went in and made animal noises - there’s a track, I think it was Message From the Country where there’s all these animal noises and we were making cows and pigs, I think I was one of those.

MK: So you must have been with them at the time when they sort of split up and turned into ELO, that must have been a bit of a strange sort of time?

BH: Yeah, they were keeping The Move going really to fund the ELO concept, which I think was Roy’s name but an idea that Jeff and Roy shared, and Jeff really joined The Move with the purpose of forming this new band The Electric Light Orchestra. But The Move were able to fund them while they set up and recorded the ELO material.

MK: And you went on to record the first ELO album with them didn’t you?

BH: Yeah they’d recorded a lot of material and the first time I went down to London with them was to the Phonogram studio near Marble Arch, which I think Paul Weller bought and might still own and it was to add some horn, French horn, and also I think Roy had got a small brass trumpet so on the introduction to 10538 Overture I added the horn part and added some trumpet parts which I think they speeded the track up to make it sound higher at the end of that track.

MK: I think we’d better hear it then.

BH:
Absolutely.

10538 Overture by The Electric Light Orchestra

MK: 10538 Overture the very first ELO single and featuring the horn of Bill Hunt who we are speaking to now. Soon after that album was released though Bill, Roy left the band. Did you actually leave at the same time?

BH: If I can just mention one thing, talking before about Paul Weller. Paul Weller had a single out, I think it was his Stanley Road album, and it was one of my nephews came up and said have you heard this Paul Weller track, it just sounds like 10538 Overture and I listened to it and I couldn’t believe it, I think it was in the same key as well. But it was interesting, that connection, that the 10538 was recorded in the studio that he later bought.

MK: I think the track you are on about is called The Changing Man.

BH: Yes that’s right.

MK: Let’s have a quick little listen to that so that people can listen to the similarities in the two, but you are right, they are similar. (plays Changing Man - Paul Weller)

MK: That's The Changing Man by Paul Weller.We threw that one in as well, We were talking about the early days of ELO, Roy left soon after that album was released didn’t he? Did you actually go with him at the same time? Must have been a bit of a strange time?

BH: Yes. It was, basically there were two very talented musicians and two ambitious musicians in Roy and Jeff and friction occurred really and it came to its height on the Italian tour. I think when Roy came back he felt that the atmosphere and tension was building and he did say to me that he’d had enough of that with The Move, with the original line up of The Move, and he never wished to be in a band with that sort of tension around, and for that reason he decided to leave Jeff with ELO and to form Wizzard.

MK: Well all the press reports said did he fall or was he pushed - what do you think about that?

BH: It’s difficult; I mean it was his decision. OH no he wasn’t pushed. No he wasn’t pushed it was his decision to leave and to go along a new rock n roll path rather than the classical sort of path.

MK: And you left at the same time yeah?

BH: Yeah he left, I wasn’t particularly happy with ELO, to me it wasn’t the greatest live band I’d heard and I was thinking of leaving anyway but then Roy said he’d got this new concept and he’d like me to join it. I got on very well with Roy, I liked his sense of humour and obviously I admired his musical talent and such, so I was happy to go into Wizzard with him. Which was a band with a great atmosphere and I think the atmosphere of the band comes across in the singles.

MK: Yeah you’re right and the first single, which was called Ball Park Incident, was released around Christmas time in 1972 that was a really exciting point wasn’t it?

BH: Yes, absolutely fabulous that’s right, was it released at Christmas time or earlier?

MK: Yes it was released in December of 72 but was a hit in January of 73

BH: Yeah, that was fairly successful that was, top ten so we were pleased about that being the first single.

Wizzard - Ball Park Incident

MK: Number six, and you must have been quite pleased as well cause you wrote the B side didn’t you?

BH: That’s right, which is a Harpsichord based piece, the Carlsberg Special which was a particular favourite drink of the band - I don’t know why coz it tastes bloody awful now.

MK: Now, the Carlsberg Special, piano's demolished phone 021-373-4472 I shan’t forget that phone number nor will you, will you?

BH: No and I’ve just remembered why we liked it, it was a particularly strong drink. The phone number, that was a little surprise the band played on me, I think I did have a title for it I can't quite remember what the title was but then they told me they had a new title for it but wouldn’t tell me what it was and I couldn’t understand why but I went along with it. Then when the single came out it had got my home phone number on the B side! And so I was kept busy with the phone for a while.

MK: What did you think when people started ringing you up, did you mind?

BH: I didn’t really mind, I was young, newly married actually but I just thought it was a bit of fun. The people who rang up were friendly and often surprised that they were speaking to a member of the band. But it soon wore off when we were getting phone calls at all times, in the end we couldn’t use the phone so we had to ask for a change of number.

MK: And some poor old lady got that number didn’t she?

BH: Well yeah, after my complaint that we couldn’t use the phone they gave me a new number and you’d have thought they would put the other one on the shelf for a while but they gave it some lady, I think she was 85, we’ve just seen the article haven’t we, and she was getting pestered with the phone calls then.

MK: Was that the first tune that you had written to actually get recorded?

BH: I think it was yes, the instrumental, that’s right.

MK: Ok well quite a few people listening to this are probably wondering what we are talking about so we’ll play it. The Carlsberg Special by Wizzard, this is the B-side of Ball Park Incident and it was written by our guest today - Bill Hunt. (Plays The Carlsberg Special)

The Carsberg Special - Written by Bill Hunt, Recorded by Wizzard

MK: That’s great. The Carlsberg Special by Wizzard. Did Wizzard perform that live Bill, at all?

BH: We never did no, I don’t think we ever did do that one live, I don’t think many of the B-sides were performed live.

MK: Have you ever attempted to play it live at all yourself?

BH: I can't play it now it’s that fast!

MK: It is fast isn’t it? It sounds a very complicated piece to play is it?

BH: Yeah it’s based on a Bach piece one if his Preludes, it’s the same sort of chord sequence as that and it’s just a little variation on that really.

MK: So 1973 was an amazing year for Wizzard with two number ones, See My Baby Jive and Angel Fingers. Is 1973 and that sort of time all a haze to you now or do you remember it quite clearly?

BH: Well there’s parts that I do remember quite clearly I mean the thing was it was great fun, it was a great band with a great atmosphere and as I said before that sort of came across on the singles like See My Baby Jive and the Christmas one of course.

MK: And of course Roy was also having solo success as well and you were telling me that you played on some of his solo stuff as well?

BH: Yeah with the solo album, he didn’t play a lot of piano, Roy, so if he needed some piano bits in he used to ask me to come in and play on them.

MK: So what do you think when you go into a shop now because we are approaching Christmas as we speak, and every shop you go in is now playing I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. Does that bring back good memories for you?

BH: Oh yes it was a great time, a great time with the band and I’m proud to be associated with it, it was a little bit of rock and roll history and I’m proud to be associated with that. I still think its better than the Slade single and I’ve told Dave Hill and Nodd that!

MK: You must have recorded it in the summer did you?

BH: I can’t quite remember when we did record that one. I know Dave Hill tells me that they recorded theirs in New York in the summer and it was really really hot and they were all sweating and some of the recordings were done in corridors to get the echo effects and all these New Yorkers were walking passed looking at this British band dressed up in Christmas gear singing about Christmas and they thought it was a load of nutters. How right they were!

MK: Well it was a good year for Christmas records, Slade had one in the charts as well as you just mentioned but you say you prefer it to the Slade one?

BH: I think it’s a better song yeah.

MK: Ok Let’s hear it then. (Plays I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.)

Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday on Top Of The Pops BBC TV

MK: There they go, Wizzard, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, and who hasn’t had a dance to that at some drunken party somewhere! We are talking to Bill Hunt who played on that track, also in ’73 Wizzard released an album called Wizzard Brew, that’s a great album do you like it?

BH: Yeah, it missed the target with the public really, I think Roy’s greatest talent was as a pop singles writer. It was interesting at the time that Jeff couldn’t write pop singles, but Jeff was very good on the concept album tracks and Jeff didn’t have a great deal of success in the early days where as Roy had all those singles with The Move. But as the scene changed and people like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were coming in. The album scene became more important than the singles scene and I think that the three minute single is where Roy’s talent really lies.

MK: It was very different wasn’t it from things like See My Baby Jive and Angel Fingers.

BH: Yeah I think the fans must have been flabbergasted!

MK: And it’s just been released on CD,Did you know about that?

BH: I didn’t know that, its good to know that the music still goes around. I remember We’re going for a Jolly Cup Of Tea, I don’t know what the fans thought about that one!

MK: Did you play on that track?

BH: Oh yes, I seem to remember a lot of brass instruments going into it, yes it may have been that track I played a lot of brass instruments on. (Plays: Jolly Cup Of Tea)

MK: You must have had great fun, not just recording that album but being in Wizzard, it must have been a fantastic job at the time,Was it?

BH: Absolutely. Obviously it was successful, you go round the country. One of the fondest memories is to go on stage and just have all those people in an ecstatic mood there to greet you, and we just had a great party on stage.

MK: Now Roy’s an incredible talent in my opinion. What’s he like to work with in the studio?

BH: Roy was Brilliant. Very easy to work with, the reason being that he knew exactly what he wanted, he’d got the sound in his head, the concept in his head - It's not the same as going in with someone who is not quite sure what they want and is trying different things out. Roy was full of music, he’d got it all in his head. Then it was just a case of working with us to bring that sound out. But having said that, we put our own ideas in as well, and Roy would let us and encourage us to do that and to be creative in the studios also.

MK: Well he gave you all a chance to write B-sides to singles which is something a lot of people don’t do.

BH: That’s right.

MK: You went on to record an album called Eddy And The Falcons in ’74. Now was it during that album you decided to leave?

BH: I remember the photo session more than the album tracks, I think we started to do some albums tracks but then I think that was the time when I left and Bob Brady played on it. On the album cover is says that there were two piano players, myself and Bob Brady.

MK: Did you play much on the album?

BH: I can’t quite remember how many tracks I did on that one, I think a lot got wiped when I left!

MK: Do you think much got recorded that didn’t get used during the time when you were with the band?

BH: Not when I was with the band no. I don’t remember much that didn’t get out.

MK: Must have been a very hard decision for you to make, with this successful band having all this fun. Why did you leave?

BH: Well there were various things going on in my life. My wife was pregnant with our first child. I don’t know whether that gives a certain seriousness to your situation when you start looking at things a little bit differently and a bit more into the future. Roy was having solo success and talking about gigs at the Albert Hall using different musicians including Rick Wakeman (that obviously stuck in my mind) on keyboards and various other musicians and I saw Don Arden pushing Roy as a solo artist rather in the way that Rod Stewart had left the Faces and became a solo artist. And I couldn’t see a long term future for the band although I think that was the wrong move to make with Roy. I think Roy is much more successful with a good team around him rather than on his own.

MK: It was soon after you left that the success started to dwindle a bit didn’t it? Why do you think that was? Was that Roy’s song writing or was he being pushed into something he didn’t want to do? What was going on there?

BH: I think with pop bands, and Roy was the master of the three minute single, I think that pop bands don’t last forever and styles change, new audiences come up. And because we weren’t able to get into the album market, because it was like a singles band, artists change, bands change and the next change came in really. The next fashion came in.

MK: Do you remember if you played on a track called This Is The Story Of My Love?

BH: I remember the track very well and I think I did play on that one.

MK: It’s one of my favourites let’s hear it. ( Plays: This Is The Story Of My Love)

MK: From the Wizzard album Introducing Eddy and The Falcons, that was This Is The Story Of My Love (Baby). We’re talking to Bill Hunt who left the band when that album was being recorded. Did you still follow the bands career though after you’d gone?

BH: Yeah but I moved into different areas then, into teaching, I’d been to the school of music in Birmingham and got a degree in teaching so really since I’d been to school that’s what I’d been trained to do and trained to be, so that’s the area I moved into. But yeah I’ve always been interested in music and followed both Jeff’s ELO progress and the Wizzard progress.

MK: Was it hard to go back to a day job after being in a rock band like that?

BH: It was difficult but you‘ve got to get round to it sometime!

MK: You gotta pay the rent haven’t you!

BH: Absolutely!

MK: So you left Wizzard and did some teaching, and then you started doing some work with Raymond Froggatt.

BH: That's right, later on. Ray had obviously done tours with Wizzard and was also managed by Don Arden for a time and we made contact again and I did some gigs with them. Culminating in a video at the London Palladium.

MK: You've just mentioned Don Arden, he was recently on TV in a documentary what did you think about that?

BH: Very good friend of mine Don!! I enjoyed it, it was a bit of fun. I don't know how many friends it made him but it was a bit of fun.

MK: Did you think he'd been painted in a bad way over the years?

BH: I think he was painted in a bad way but also think that he not only brought it on himself, he actually nurtured it and enjoyed the "hard man" image. Don Arden wasn't his real name. His real name was something like Harry Levy, I saw his passport on a European trip once. A lot of promoters and managers in those days promoted that sort of image; like Peter Grant with Led Zeppelin, you know, that was the style of management that they pursued. I've recently read an illuminating article on Don on the Wikipedia website - very revealing. It says that he had a cabaret act, where he used to imitate famous gangsters. Seems he carried it on into his business life.

MK: Talking of image, lets just go back to your Wizzard image because you came across as a bit of a mad man! Was that hard to do or are you a bit like that anyway?

BH: No I find it dead easy! I think it was like the alter ego or another part of you that you are able to display, that comes out of you and maybe in day to day life you don't have to use or don't use it but it's like a theatrical thing that came out at the time.

MK: OK so tell us now how you ended up working with Slade and Noddy Holder.

BH: Yeah that was actually linked up to Hannibal, remember I was talking about Adrian Ingram? Adrian had known Dave Hill from Slade, for a long time. Dave was looking to pursue some of his own musical ideas outside Slade and had contacted Adrian about forming a little recording band. It was through that contact that Dave came round the house and brought some of his material and we started working together. We got on well.

MK: And you actually wrote a couple of B-sides for Slade's last couple of singles.

BH: That's right yeah, I was pleased to do that as well, we wrote quite a bit of material for this other group of musicians and eventually two of the tracks were used for Slade B-sides.

MK: You also formed a band called Blessings In Disguise.

BH: That's right. Nod sang; we did a cover of the Everley Brothers song. What was that called?

MK: Crying In The Rain

BH: Crying In The Rain - Yes, Nod sang that and it went down well. It was actually brought out as a single before the AHA one. Aha had a hit with it shortly afterwards but whether they'd pinched the idea from us doing it or just found it themselves, I don't know but they had a lot of success with that single.

MK: Ok well we'll hear that then for those who haven't heard it. Blessings In Disguise and their version of Crying In The Rain. (Plays: Crying In The Rain)

MK: Blessings In Disguise and their version of Crying In The Rain - It was basically a couple of members of Slade and my guest today Bill Hunt.
Now when Slade split up Bill, Dave Hill took the band on to become Slade 2

BH: Nod and Jim made the decision that they didn't want to tour anymore, obviously Nod as you know is very busy doing TV and he's just written a book, so he got busy doing other things and he thought he'd done his best with Slade and didn't want to become a parody of his former self. He was also getting lots of offers to do other things, radio shows, TV shows and so he's gone into that. But Dave and Don formed a band that they called Slade 2, a bit like the ELO 2 thing, and continued gigging.

MK: What's your opinion of that, you know, when a lead singer departs from a group like Jeff Lynne did with ELO and Noddy did with Slade, what do you think about a band that wants to carry on with a Part 2 banner, what do you think of the idea?

BH: Well bands are always changing lineups and personnel all along the way and it's just a natural continuation, just because one person wants to leave, that's their decision but the rest of them are musicians and that's their job and I just see it as a continuation.

MK: Now you’ve got a son who’s in a band and I believe he’s playing tonight isn’t he?

BH: Yeah, he’s playing at Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham tonight with his group. He’s a very prolific songwriter cause he’s a good songwriter as well, the songs seem to flow quite easily out of him. He sings, plays guitar and this is the first gig with his new lineup.

MK: Good luck to him for that. And you’ve got a nephew Miles and everyone will have heard of his band the Wonder Stuff but they’re not going anymore are they?

BH: No the Wonder Stuff finished but Miles is still gigging in this country and in the States and brings out CD’s which are available, I believe over the internet.

MK: Is that under his own name or with a band?

BH: That’s under his own name Miles Hunt.

MK: We are approaching the Millennium, what are your plans for the year 2000?

BH: The year 2000, well I’m looking forward to the Millennium party at Steve Winwoods house I’ve had an invitation so I’m looking forward to going down the Cotswolds and enjoying myself down there.

MK: Well Bill, Enjoy the party, All the best for the year 2000 and thanks for doing this interview.

BH: It’s always a pleasure to see you Martin.

MK: Cheers Bill.
We'll finish with a live performance featuring you with The Move performing 'Ella James' on
'The Old Grey Whistle Test'




The above interview was recorded in December 1999

and was transcribed by Daizy Wood Rowe

Myself and Bill have added the following in October 2007

MK: Tell us more about your son Will, you played on his "Entertaining Archie" CD didn't you?

BH: Entertaining Archie was a showcase for Will's writing and singing. He has moved on a long way since that recording and has been seeking his fame and fortune in London. He moved down to London, got a job in a bar and started gigging solo/acoustic gigs. He met up with a writer/producer Gil Kang and they produced about 5 of his songs. This created a lot of interest, which has now led to the release of his first single 'Lost & Found' on an indie label, called Mod Art Sounds. He's getting some great reviews. Keep your fingers crossed. He has always had this talent for writing though.

MK: And also since that interview you nephew Miles has recorded an album with the Wonderstuff called "Escape From Rubbish Island" Were you involved with that album ?

BH: I have recorded with Miles, on some of his solo stuff. He has recently bought out a solo album called Not An Exit and I'm off to the WOMAD Festival, to see him play. He's working with a female violinist. Strangely enough Will also has a violin player in his band, too. It must be making a comeback.

MK: I'd be interested to know what Will and Miles think about the work you did with ELO and Wizzard

BH: I suppose you'd better ask them, but as I'm Will's Dad and Miles was a page boy at my wedding, I hope they show a bit of loyalty. When Miles and his brother Russ were young, I know they had great fun having an uncle in Wizzard. Nearly as much fun as I did!

MK: Are you still teaching ?

BH: Funny you should ask that. I am retiring at the end of this term to either a life of luxury, or a life of penance and servitude. I'm not sure which yet. My accountant hasn't got back to me, which ain't a good sign.

MK: What instruments did you teach your students - keyboard, brass?

BH: When I left Music College, in the 60's, I had teaching diplomas on piano and french horn. I started off teaching brass then moved over to teaching keyboard.

MK: You've recently been playing gigs with Raymond Froggatt again. Is it good to be back on the road again?

BH: I've always gigged and enjoy playing. I have been working quite a bit with Frog and played keyboards, accordion and horn on his Symphony Hall and N.I A. gigs in Birmingham, which are available on DVD.

MK: Raymond Froggatt used to be the support act for Wizzard didn't he?

BH: Frog's a great character with a great voice and stage charisma. I first saw him playing with H Caine, his guitarist, at The Belfry, now a major golf venue near Brum, in the 60's. He was as as much a part of the Birmingham scene as anybody; knew The Moodies, all Roy's bands and was a mate of Ozzie's. If you want some good stories he's the man. He was also managed by Don The 'Ard 'Un and got put on the Wizzard shows. I don't think he was very happy about it though. With the sort of country-tinged stuff that they did, I think it was a bit of a thankless task going on before us. He remembers it well.

MK: I don't think I've ever asked you this before, Of all the ELO and Wizzard tracks that you played on, which are your favourites?

BH: Well I could say The Carlsberg Special, but See My Baby Jive is always great to hear. When The Wonderstuff were having a little do in, I think it was The Townhouse Studio in London, to celebrate completing one of their earlier albums, Kirsty MacColl was there with her husband, the producer Steve Lillywhite. Steve was a humble tape operator at the Marble Arch studio, where Move, ELO and Wizzard recordings were made in the early days, including 'I Wish It Could Be…', when I last saw him. I was introduced by Miles to Kirsty, who said that See My Baby Jive had been her favourite single. What wonderful taste.

Wizzard - See My Baby Jive on Top Of The Pops BBC TV

MK: The track you wrote for Wizzard "The Carlsberg Special" was chosen as one of the tracks on a Harvest compilation called "Art School Dancing" It's a great track, I wonder why they chose that one to represent Wizzard and were you surprised to see it on there?

BH: I didn't twist anybodys arm or anything, but it's nice to see it get a new bit of life.

MK: Do you ever see any of your old Wizzard mates

BH: Yes, we have been in touch over the years.

MK: If someone suggested getting Wizzard back together again, Would you be up for it?

BH: It depends who that 'someone' was.

MK: Roy wouldn't do it I don't think, It would have to be one of those Part 2 jobs !

BH: Well, I've still got the capes and the stage gear upstairs, in the attic, Whether they still fit is another story.

MK: When you are out shopping in December and you hear the Wizzard Christmas single, do you still get a buzz from hearing it?

BH: The song has a great atmosphere and it's always good to think that you played a small part in something which has lasted so long. And it's still better than that Slade one. What was it called again?

MK: We know that you played on the first ELO album,Did you do any work on the next album before you left the band?

BH:I do seem to remember recording at the studio near Marble Arch and it seemed to be Jeff's Boogie 1 , 2 , 3 etc. He didn't seem to have any names for the songs or they were just instrumentals. Whether it was kept in I'm not sure. Again I think I did listen to them at one time and thought that I was on it.
I also played on some of Roy's solo stuff and I played on both sides of the single that he recorded with Ayshea Brough

MK: How would you like to be remembered in years to come, as a good music teacher or a loony with wings, sawing a piano in half, maybe?

BH: I did see, on 'Youtube', a TV performance of Angel Fingers with me bowing Rick's bass. I should have had an Oscar for that. Maybe some of the kids will remember me as a good music teacher.

Wizzard - Angel Fingers

MK: Have you got a message for any of your old ELO / Wizzard fans, who may be reading this?

BH: Don't forget to pick up your free bus pass, free prescriptions and free eye tests, when you get to 60. Oh, and your winter fuel allowance! We don't really need that though, we'll still be dancing to "I Wish It Could Be…"

MK: Thanks again Bill for your time and good luck in all you do in the future

BH: Martin, thanks for remembering me.

This interview is © Martin Kinch and may not be reproduced in whole or part without permision

 

December 2016

 

 

Press Release ...

BILL HUNT with the backing of a new Midlands supergroup, THE ANCIENT ORDER OF FROTH BLOWERS, are delighted to present ‘El Original Brew’, a brand new composition set for release on the 15th December 2016.

Written as the follow up to WIZZARD’s classic B-Side ’The Carlsberg Special’, the follow up track arrives 44 years after the original and will be released on special beer coloured vinyl and digitally. A special commemorative 'El Original Brew' beer will be accompanying the release courtesy of Birmingham's Froth Blowers Brewery and appearing in locals across the country this December.

BILL HUNT is a (still) walking piece of pop memorabilia; a collectors’ item. The only musician, along with the superlative ROY WOOD, to have been in the original line up of both the world renowned ELO and 70’s glam rock chart toppers WIZZARD, who used to wish it could be Christmas every day.

In 1972 Bill wrote the B-side of the first WIZZARD single, 'Ball Park Incident' which sold over 250,000 copies. The original title was to be 'The Light Fantastic', but Roy wasn’t so keen as there was another Birmingham band of the same name. So unbeknownst to Bill, the band re-named the track 'The Carlsberg Special (Pianos Demolished Phone 021 373 4472)'. The inclusion of Bill’s home number in the title led to his phone ringing non-stop and double non-stop at the weekends. It seemed that everybody who bought the record had decided to ring the number on the back out of curiosity. He was forced to change his number. About a year later it was allocated to a dear, unwitting lady pensioner and it started ringing all over again! Carlsberg Special Brew was the band’s then drink of choice - that and rocket fuel! Pianos demolished? This was back in the days of student piano smashing contests - no computer games then - and Bill was following in the footsteps of The Move’s Carl Wayne (TV sets), The Who’s Pete Townshend (guitars) and of course, The Who’s drummer Keith Moon (anything). The single was launched at The Magic Circle Club (Wizzard – geddit?) in London. The world’s most prestigious magic club. Carlsberg even showed up with crates of their Special Brew.

43 years later, Bill has written the follow up – EL ORIGINAL BREW. It came to him in a flash! After his early rock band experiences followed by 30 years in music education, intertwined with a performing and writing career, including a jointly written album with song writing partner Dave Hill of once rival band Slade (we both think we had the best Christmas single) inspiration struck. It came through his meeting up with Hamstall Ridware and Dr C D Mille of Sundae Club, to whom he was introduced by his old (well actually a little bit younger than him) school mate Steve Winwood. Ridware and Mille were massive fans of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and the early ELO style. The seed was sown. The horn was blown.

EL ORIGINAL BREW will be released in a limited edition FROTHY ALE COLOURED vinyl single but we would be happy to sell 250,000 copies like the original. It will be b/w a Sundae-Clubbed version of singer-songwriter WILL HUNT’s 'The Kentish Town Song'. Will (Bill's son!) led the Columbia-signed band Dansette Junior, whose single 'Paranoid' has over 2,300,000 hits on YouTube. Ridware and Mille have produced an early ELO-type arrangement in the style of '10538 Overture' the first ELO single. This makes the vinyl version probably the only single in history ever to be released as a Double B Side.


Bill Hunt - Photo © Darren Sawyer

INTRODUCING THE BAND...

Bill was most ably assisted up the stairs and in this epic piece of Rock n Roll Re-Enactment by a band of Special Guests including…

SUNDAE CLUB – the multi-talented and multi-faceted production team of Hamstall Ridware and Dr. C D Mille, perfect in planning and execution - from which they were reprieved.

NICK PENTELOW – one of the 2 guys with the most sax appeal in WIZZARD, who spent years down the pit (playing in top London musicals) and now rides alongside Andy Fairweather Low (ex-Amen Corner & Eric Clapton) And The Low Riders.

MILES HUNT & ERICA NOCKALLS – Miles is the singer/songwriter/frontman/raconteur/diarist etc. with 80’s & 90’s chart toppers THE WONDERSTUFF and was pageboy at Bill’s wedding! Now he can add electric sitar soloist to his long list of continuing accolades. Erica spread sparkling and inventive violin parts all over the track as she does with ‘The Stuffies’, her own EN band and indeed, when Glastonbury-ing with The Proclaimers.

Thanks to HUGH McDOWELL – ex-ELO & ex-WIZZARD. Cello and wine consultant.

Special thanks to SKINS BLITHBURY of The Album Project UK. The only drummer to be able to play like Keith Smart and Charlie Grima...at the same time.

The producer was GEORGE SHILLING.

EL ORIGINAL BREW - The world has waited long enough.

Preview it here:

The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers - Website

The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers Double B Side - Buy it here

The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers - Facebook page

See the video Here

 

A CELEBRATORY PINT

Birmingham’s Froth Blowers Brewery has got together with The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers, a band led by Bill Hunt (ex-ELO; ex-Wizzard) to produce an ale called El Original Brew, in celebration of the band’s debut single of that name. Brewery owner, Dave Woodhead said: “This strong pale ale is made with Maris Otter malt and bittered with Magnum hop. For aroma and extra taste Cascade, Azzaca and Summit are late-hop additions. It is an ideal complement to the retro sounds of a golden era in the history of Birmingham Rock Music. Wizzard are best known for I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday. Bill wrote the B side (The Carlsberg Special) of the very first Wizzard single, Ball Park Incident in 1972 and this is his follow up. We think that the world has waited long enough; so here’s something to celebrate the occasion.”

The 'El Original Brew' beer will be accompanying the release and appearing in pubs across the country this December.

STOP PRESS!

The Blaenafon Cheddar Company, producers of award-winning Welsh cheeses are to produce a commemorative cheese early next year. It will be flavoured with Froth Blowers' El Original Brew beer and black pepper. Plans are afoot for the packaging to feature the record label design on the cheese company's trademark black wax coating. 'El Original Cheese'!

 

 

October 2015

Bill has been recording a new track with Sundae Club called “El Original Brew” – (The Carlsberg Special Follow Up) and can be seen in this photo with Ex Wizzards Nick Pentelow and Hugh Mcdowell at George Shilling’s studio.

 

 

Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) can be read on Pages 6 and 7 of this issue of 'The Tippler' Here
He also recently sent me this photo of the vest he used to wear when he was in ELO.




Bill, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Wood - Early ELO

 

Bill has recently recorded a follow up to his Wizzard B side 'The Carlsberg Special (Piano's Demolished Phone 021 373 4472)'
He told me that the new track is called ‘EL Original Brew’ - More details when we get it

 

July 2014

Bill has been recording once again with Sundae Club , he plays French Horn on a track called 'Everything is fine' which has just been released. More info on the various types of format for this limited edition can be found Here

Sundae Club's Hamstall Ridware said "Bill was once again a wonderful chap to work with. A few years back he played a 10538-style bit of French horn and hunting-horn on our remix of his son Will Hunt's song, Dansette Junior's "Drums and Bass" so we'd worked with him before. His fee for this non-family session was the MU rate "plus a pint". On this occasion, Bill hadn't heard the track until I played it to him with a synthesizer horn part in the car on the way up to George Shilling's "Bank Cottage Studio" in the Cotswolds. "I'm a bit rusty" he explained, "I've not played the horn in months". Once comfortable in the studio, he played the entire part through on the first take absolutely perfectly. No need for any rehearsal at all. We asked him to try another as a safety copy, then we adjourned down the pub for more than a swift half. The barman in the Fox and Hounds, Great Wolford, was a bit of a Wizzard/ELO fan, so was delighted to serve us. Bill himself was well chuffed because we paid him his MU rate for the night, and there was more beer time!"

'Everything Is Fine' by Sundae Club on 7" White vinyl (featuring Bill Hunt and Matt Berry)

Bill Hunt and his horn recording 'Everything Is Fine'
Photos © Hamstall Ridware

February 2014

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

 

December 2013

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

 

July 2013

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

Bill is still playing with The Raymond Froggatt Band

 

May 2013

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

I was pleeased to catch up with Bill for a Carlsberg Special on the 18th of May before we went to see a show called 'Made In Brum' that was on at The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury

After the show we were joined in the pub by Bill's ex band mate Bev Bevan
who was one of the performers in the show

 

October 2012

Bill is currently out on the road with Raymond Froggatt and will be playing at Birmingham Town Hall on Saturday 27th October

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here


April 2012

Bill's nephew, Miles Hunt is a member of "The Wonderstuff" and they release their first single in three years on April 21st, Record Store Day. The release launches the band’s ‘From The Midlands With Love’ project, a series of double A-side 7” inch vinyl singles, featuring cover versions of a few of the band’s favourite Midlands-produced music. This first release comprises of The Wonder Stuff’s own versions of The Move’s ‘Blackberry Way’ and The Beat’s ‘Save It For Later’.

November 2011

Bill has been busy working with Raymond Froggatt this year and they will be opening at Wembley Arena in February at The International Festival of Country Music

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

Here's some old pics of Bill with a band called Bachdenkel, he wasn’t a member of the band but he did recorded some horn with them, Bill thinks it was probably around ‘67/68.


September 2010

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

 

August 2010

The new single from Dansette Junior (featuring Bills son Will) is released on the 30th August 2010
It's called Paranoid, and here is the official video ....

 

 

Will recently attended a book launch in Soho - The Book is on kids who had Dads in bands

June 2010

Bill was recently in Llantrisant, near Cardiff, to hear a March for Brass Band that he had been commissioned to write by the Town Trustees. It was performed by the RAF St Athan Voluntary Band.
Bill tells me that afterwards they all went for a "Jolly Cup Of Tea".

Also, Dansette Junior is playing at Glastonbury on Friday 25th June at 9.30 pm in the Dance Tent. He'll also be doing the Big Chill, having played at Rockness the other weekend.

 

February 2010

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

Bill has received a commission to write a March for the 'Beating of The Bounds' in Llantrisant in Wales. It takes place in June and will be performed by the band of the Royal Air Force Station at St. Athan.

He has also just played his French Horn on a remix of a track by his son Will (aka Dansette Junior)
it's called 'Drums and Bass' and has just been remixed by Sundae Club

Bill in the studio recording his part on the new Sundae Club remix of Dansette Junior's Drums and Bass
Photo © Sundae Club



Will is working on his new material with Steve Dub (has produced Chemical Brothers) & John "Segs" Jennings (bassist with Alabama Three turned producer).


Bill was recently involved with a Tewkesbury production of an Alan Bennett play, Habeas Corpus, arranging & performing the music (on accordion) and writing some original music like 'A Tad Tango' (below)

 

 

 


October 2009

Read Bill's latest article for CAMRA (Campaign for real ale) Here

 

August 2009

Great news, Will (aka Dansette Junior) has signed a recording deal with Columbia and has also been heard on BBC Radio 1.

Dansette Junior sign to Columbia records (Will Hunt - 3rd from left)
Thanks to Bill for the photo

 

May 2009

Bills Son Will had some good news recently, See here
He was the only unsigned act (record company-wise) to appear on that week's playlist .The track is called Drums and Bass by Dansette Junior


For more details, visit their Myspace page where you can hear that song and others

 

 

Feb 2008

Talking of The Carlsberg Special, the track was recently used as backing music during a BBC4 programme called Saville Row.

Bill was half asleep when the show came on and he told me...

"As my brain started to assemble the notes I realised they were playing The Carlsberg Special, which they proceeded to play all the way through. You could have knocked me over with a ferret! Always knew it had quality (like the suits)"

 

 

Dec 2007

Bill has recorded a new track called 'Bloody Meadow' which is included on a compilation CD called 'A Drop In The Ocean' Bill wrote and produced the track, he tells me that it would not have been out of place on the first ELO album and is a bit Marston Moor-ish.

Bloody Meadow is the name of a local field
associated with the battle of Tewkesbury 1471.


The CD features tracks from different Tewkesbury musicians, from the town band to a ska/punk band called Spunge.It also includes Bill's solo singing debut, on 'The times they are a changing'
It is in aid of the Tewkesbury Flood Fund and has been produced, recorded, cut and printed entirely in Tewkesbury. It is out on December 1st 2007
More details about the CD and how to buy it can be found here

After nearly 35 years since Bill's 'Carlsberg Special' was released by Wizzard, now is your chance to hear 'the follow up!'


A CD called "Slade B Sides" has recently been released, this CD contains the two songs that Bill co- wrote with Slade's Dave Hill. The two tracks are "Lay Your Love On The Line" and "Red Hot", both of which were B sides for the singles "Radio Wall Of Sound" and "Universe", respectively.


Bill's nephew, Miles Hunt is a member of "The Wonderstuff" and Bill played organ on 3 tracks on the album "Escape From Rubbish Island"
More details on all things Wonderstuff can be found on the bands Website

 

November 2012

Bill has been doing more dates on tour with Raymond Froggatt

 

 

 

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