This is the story of how Five Day Rain came about. So many inaccurate stories
about the band have appeared on the net that I thought it was time to set the
To start at the beginning, I was born in the East End of London on the 20th April 1950. My education knew no bounds when I was dragged kicking and screaming to those lovely Victorian schools in Wandsworth and Balham. Not only were they cold, dark, damp and menacing, but were complete with their own menageries, where rodents the size of small tigers terrorized the inmates. The staff wore shapeless grey pinstripe suits, moustaches, brylcreemed hair, and were pretty liberal with the way they used their fists. The male teachers weren't too cool either!!!
At about twelve years old, I got my first guitar. It cost the grand sum of 10/-. That's ten shillings, for the people that don't remember real money. Ten bob. That was four weeks pocket money. No sweets, or The Eagle, Dandy and Beano for four weeks. I wondered whether it was worth it! I still do, sometimes. My father used to say, "What have you got to fall back on? It's not like having a real profession, is it?" I would say" Well you wouldn't say that to a draughtsman." "That's different." He said. Mind you, he didn't say that when one of my records was on the radio and the jukebox, down at the local pub. He was chuffed to blazes and made sure every one knew it was his son "on the wireless" as he called it.
Not owning a record player at that time, I used to run home from friends house trying to remember riffs by T Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, and Robert Johnson. There was only three or four of us guys listening to blues then. We were social outcasts, as everything that involved guitars was the Shadows, or Bert Weedon. Much as I admire them now, I would not have been seen dead playing Shadows stuff. Although I still have my original copy of Bert Weedon's 'Play In A Day', which was the bible then for budding guitarists.
After a year or so, I got my second guitar. This was a steel strung acoustic, and the strings were mooring ropes off the Queen Mary. They were so thick that they made my fingers bleed. Still I persevered, and soon graduated to a Selmer semi acoustic. My first electric and a 15Watt Watkins amp. The biz. I discovered feedback, much to dad's disgust. "Can't you play that bloody thing properly? I could have brought [yes, brought] a new steereo gram with the money that stuff cost!" And yes, he did say steereogram.
Just a little aside here to show how whimsical everything really is. My father's name was Frank. He was, for a long time, a piano tuner. He was nearly completely deaf, due to an accident in the army. A deaf piano tuner. Well to me, there was nothing wrong in this. What I thought was incredible, was that on his business card was the legend, F.SHARPE. PIANO TUNER.
About that time, I formed my first band with a school pal called Paul Strong. What a bloody marvellous guitar player he was! We were called The RABBLE, and my guitar was almost as big as me. By the way, R&B then meant Rhythm and Blues. It certainly doesn't stand for that nowadays. My first gigs were in London, supporting bands like Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames at The Whisky-a-go go, in Wardour Street. I was only thirteen or fourteen at the time. I got in so late; my dad never knew that I would fall asleep in class. I was sent home on a couple of occasions. My school reports were permanently marked "His continued absences hinder his progress!" Not just the result of late gigs, but a deep-rooted dislike of the education system. Music, Fishing, Airfix Kits, Art, fag cards [as in cigarettes] and books were always the number one priority. I think if my dad had really known what I was doing, he would have hit the roof. My mum always covered for me though... somehow!!
From The Rabble, to TRAK: Trak was a six-piece soul, tamla and pop band. We actually had a heck of a lot of bookings, and quite a large following. This is where I graduated from playing rhythm guitar and a few licks to playing lead. A fun band to be in, we played a lot of Navy bases like HMS Excellent, and Army barracks. The camaraderie was great, but some times Dudley Christiansen, who was the drummer, would fall asleep while driving, which often made for an eventful journey home! The rest of the line up was Keith Braine: keyboards, Royston Tree: lead guitar, David Page: vocals, and Adrian Green: bass. Trak went on till the end of 1967. Then I played in CHILD, with Gareth Roberts on drums and a sax/flute player called Len. Child was quite a jazzy Jethro Tull sort of band. Next came IRON PROPHET, formed around October 1968. This was a heavy three piece, comprising me: guitar/vocals, Clive Shepherd: bass/vocals and Dick Hawkes on drums, both were previously in SKULL. Clive and I did all the writing, some of which appears on the FDR album and four of mine written at the time, but not used on the original album, are on this CD. The band was a cross between Edgar Broughton, Grand Funk Railroad and Led Zeppelin. Loads of riffs and stuff. I learned a lot from this period. We had a big following, and did many major venues and festivals like Plumpton Festival, with bands such as The Who, The Nice and Ginger Baker's Air Force.
We won a battle of the bands contest in Sussex, the result of which, we met Graham Maitland, who had been in Scots of St.James, Hopscotch and Fleur De Lys. I ended up moving into Graham's cottage in Surrey with him and his lovely wife LYNN, who is a talented singer in her own right. She went on working with David Bowie and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, among others.
The cottage is where I wrote "The Reason Why" and "Fallout", as well as co-writing "Good Year", "Marie's A Woman" and "Sea Song", with Graham. Through a mutual friend, we met Brian Carroll, and the legendary engineer, Damon Lyon-Shaw, who gave us the chance to record the album, not before another change of name, this time to FIVE DAY RAIN.
I have read that FDR was Graham's band, and never gigged live. Both of these comments were untrue, as the band was in existence before Graham joined, and after he left. As FDR, we only did a handful of gigs, all of which were received incredibly well.
The original name of Five Day Rain was going to be The ENTIRE BUILDING IS ABOUT TO COLLAPSE, until we realised that it would need a three-foot wide album cover to get it on. It came about after Brian and I had been over to the Dover Castle, behind IBC Studios, for a small libation, one lunchtime. Many hours, and several barrels of brandy later, on lurching back to the studio, I came out with, on seeing a shimmering building in front of us, "Bloody Hell," I said. "It looks as though the entire building is about to collapse". We stopped dead in our tracks, both having a spiritual (in more ways than one) revelation. "We got it. We bloody got it!" we yelled, and went back to the pub to celebrate! So, there it was. For a whole day, we were called The Entire Building Is About To Collapse. Well actually, until we sobered up!
Here is an account of the way things went, a lot of the time.
Several people wandered in and out while we were doing the sessions, and Dewy, Dan and Gerry from the band AMERICA did backing vocals on a couple of tracks. As to which tracks, I cannot remember. Also the wonderful Sharon Tandy did some backing vocals. She was an incredible lady, incredible singer, and helped me so much with my voice, and outlook on things. So, the line up on the album was me, Graham Maitland, Clive Shepherd and drummer Kim Haworth, who was Sharon's sweetheart (and Bryn's Haworth's brother) and replaced Dick for the recording duties. At last, John Holbrook, nowadays a famous producer, lent his talent playing lead on "Sea Song" and "Fallout" and did some of the guitar work on "Rough Cut Marmalade".
It wasn't all plain sailing though. I didn't get to sing on "Fallout", because Brian thought my voice was too rocky orientated. And there was me, thinking that "Fallout" was a rock song. Foolish boy. There is a much rockier version of it, with yours truly warbling on it. So, maybe, we will have a FDR alternative version album out one day. The same with "The Reason Why". They stuck a Lesley cab on my vocals. I learned to live with it, though. Well, the album was finished, and Graham and Brian had disagreement over God knows what. So eventually, nothing happened.
At this point Maitland, who had got in touch with authors Guy Fletcher/Doug Flett (of Onyx fame), formed STUDD PUMP together with myself, Clive Shepherd and the old friend Gareth Roberts (who actually had replaced Hawkes for the FDR gigs). The resulting single was issued in many countries (with picture sleeves showing Kim Haworth as Roberts didn't get in time for the photo session!) but without success and Studd Pump split, after only a handful of gigs. Maitland joined FOLLOW THE BUFFALO, where he met with Andrew Grober, alias Andy Gee (Mickey's brother) who had previously played in Springfield Park and with Peter Bardens. After a country rock 7", produced by Shel Talmy, and a few gigs also this band ceased and Graham went on to GLENCOE. Clive instead formed several new bands, best of them all were MAYNSTREET, which included Kelvin Saunders, Bob Cox and Paul Gilkes. They recorded some good demos between 1975 and 1978 but the recording deal never arrived. Kim Haworth played on America's first album, then relocated to Netherland where played with Houseband, Meteors, Time Bandits and Gruppo Sportivo and in 1989 co-founded Park Studios in Amsterdam together wth Ferdinand Bakker of Alquin fame.
In the meantime I joined STREAK, which comprised Jake Hooker, Ben Brierley, Paul Varley with one single called "Bang, Bang Bullet". It did reasonably well in Europe, and we did a TV show in Lisbon, Portugal, where equipment blew up on stage, and everything that could go wrong, did. It was a great show though, and I often wonder if there is still any footage of it left! Streak then became Arrows, of course!
In early 1973 I joined a band in Germany, called ROSIE. The line up was Jochen "Gypsy" Meyer: drums, Leo Lehr: guitar/vocals, Paul Ketley: bass/vocals, and me on lead vocals/guitar. All the guys in this band were talented players, but, sadly, there are only four tracks left in existence. It seems to have acquired cult status and, I am hoping to put the four tracks out soon on CD.
Since then, I have been gigging all over the place and playing with several bands, the most important for me being The FASCINATIONS, The GIPSY GANG and SHINE. Popular on the Brighton scene in the early eighties, The Fascinations were an eight piece soul, r&b pop band that was formed from the remnants of the Brighton band THE CHEEKS, in late 1979. The music was soul, blues, R&B, and original compositions. We had a large following, played many gigs and won the South of England battle of the bands contest. The line up was Rick: guitar/vocals/harmonica, Pete Early: bass/vocals, Steve Geoghan: guitar/vocals, Rob Grant: drums, Simon (Spee) Spalding: keyboards, Steve Early: sax, Jill Early, Emma and Lindi: backing vocals.
The Gipsy Gang were formed in 1979. I moved to Germany and joined them in 1981, when I was thirty one. This was a great fun band to be in. It was Rock n' Roll, from Chuck Berry, to Frankie Miller, to Steppenwolf. We were based in Freiberg, in Southern Germany, and once did four gigs in a day! The line up was me: lead guitar/vocals, Knut Boch: bass/vocals, Hans-Gunter Janke: lead guitar/vocals and, from Rosie days, Jochen (Gipsy) Mayer: drums/vocals. After many other gigs and musicians, around 1999, I formed a band called Shine. This comprised of myself, guitar/vocals/harmonica, Steve Geoghan, bass/vocals, Jasper Vincent, guitar/slide/vocals (a very talented musician, and good friend, who will be with us on the FDR tour) and Oz Garvey on drums. This was a great rock and country band and we managed to get down enough material for an album before OZ passed away in October 2003. We also did a few tracks with the multi talented Ron Aspery, of Back Door fame. He gave me inspiration and is greatly missed. I think at that time, I wrote some of material that I consider to be amongst the best I have written, which is on the Shine page on my site. I am at the moment putting together a CD of live and studio material for both Fascinations and Shine.
I only learned that the unofficial version of FDR album was out last year, and for reasons I will not go into here, have never been paid a penny from it. The same happened to the wonderful artist John Hurford, whose artwork was used without permission for that CD. He has consented to do us a new cover that was specifically designed for the new release, and I am absolutely knocked out by it. Thank you John.
Gianpaolo, from Night Wings Records, mailed me in September 2005, and asked if I'd like to release it officially. I am indebted to him for the chance to do this. So here it is, along with, as far as I know, the only FDR picture in existence and some previously unheard FDR pieces. The backing tracks were recorded at the same time the rest of the FDR album was, but for one reason and another, did not get completed, and so did not go on the album. They are "Wanna Make Love To You", "The Boy", "So Don't Worry", and "Antonia", an instrumental dedicated to my daughter. I put down extra guitars, vocals and harmonica in November 2005 at Bliss Studios, Rottingdean, East Sussex. UK, under the watchful eye of PEPPER, who is, in my mind, one of the best producers around. He managed to get the best sound possible out of my acetates, which were not in perfect condition, to say the least. He has also been a loyal friend and is destined for great things. These are the only FDR tracks that have never been released, although, there were a few more tracks recorded, they have vanished in the mists of time.
As for me, I am still gigging, and if you want to know more of my exploits, you can hit my site at www.silentstudios.org.uk
I have a lot of new material that I want to release soon, and am going to put a version of FDR together in 2006, to tour. Lynn Maitland and my daughter Antonia are going to join FDR for the tour and she and I will be working together on various other projects too. Antonia is a talented actress, singer and dancer and a hip-hop single came out in 2005. Clive Shepherd, after retiring from music for a few years, is now back writing and playing on his own and recently has re-recorded the Maynstreet tracks. Unfortunately, Graham Maitland passed away a few years back, but the guys that I have got with me now, can more than handle it. So, hopefully, we'll be seeing y'all soon.
With Love, Rick Sharpe