Low Profyle
RAF Hullavington

 

 

   

Hangin' Around / Substitute

Catalogue Number - EJSP 9434

Label - Eliie Jay Records

Year Of Release - 1980

Quantity Pressed - 500

 

 

 

Pete Mitchell - Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar Linda Nairn - Vocals
Steve Jennings - Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals Glenn Hazelden - Bass Guitar / Backing Vocals
Stew Bevington - Drums / Backing Vocals*

*Original drummer was "Chris Gray"

 

A very rare & obscure UK release from 1980. This single was released by a bunch of servicemen who were stationed at RAF Hullavington just up the M4 from Swindon where they recorded the two tracks. Peet Mitchell recalls that it was recorded on a Sunday and took eight hours to record.

Both sides are covers, one by 'The Stranglers' and the other is by 'The Who'.

 

Chris Gray Glenn Hazelden Steve Jennings Pete Mitchell

 

The beginning:

 I n October 1978 I arrived at RAF Hullavington from RAF Laarbruch and was attached to the Mobile Balloon team there.

 I had, by then, been playing and learning the guitar for all of 5 years (and singing along to my favourite records).

 My influences at the time were: mainly sixties (Beatles, Hollies and Manfred Mann), Heavy Rock (Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Rory Gallagher). But, more recently, at that time, The Stranglers, Sex Pistols and The Clash.

 At Hullavington I met Steve Jennings for the first time. Like me he was working on the Balloons. I found myself on the same crew as him.

 One day me and Steve got talking about music (as one does eventually), and it was then that we discovered we had an interest in not just listening but playing, and that we both played the guitar.

 Shortly after, we were tasked by the RAF to operate a balloon at the Red Devils training site at Aldershot. As we would be spending about 10 days there, we both decided we would take along our guitars for a jamming session.

 Things seemed to go pretty well. I recall us playing Feel Like Letting Go from the McCartney songbook that I had brought along. I know we played a few more things but I cannot remember what.

 We thought there was some potential there and decided that we would try and form a band.

 As Steve seemed to be the better of us both I suggested he be lead guitarist to which he agreed. I said I would be happy to do vocals if we could not find anyone else, and that I would cover the rhythm section.

 All we needed now was 2 more guys to make up the band.

 I already new Bob Martin from Laarbruch, who played an acoustic guitar, and also sang.

 Steve already knew a drummer who had already played in a band, but he was based at Northolt, a good hours drive form Hullavington. He felt sure he would be interested.

 Enter Glenn Hazelden

 I am not sure how we met Glenn, and I apologise if I get this bit wrong. Glenn resided in the same accommodation block as me and he must have heard that we were looking for band members.

He must have approached me, or I must have been tipped off about him, but it transpired that he used to play in a band in 'Civvy Street'. It turned out that his bass guitar was at his parents address just outside London somewhere.

 So, that made myself, Steve, Glenn and Bob Martin. All we needed now was somewhere to setup and sound out some numbers.

 Bob was a keen photographer and was a member of the Photographic club that we had on site. I seem to recall him telling us that they only met once a week and that it would be ok for us to use it the rest of the time. He also had access to the keys, which was handy.

 However, we could not keep our equipment there and it all needed to be removed after every session.

 At the time my gear consisted of: a Yamaha semi-acoustic Gibson Firebird copy, and H&H 100 watt amp, and an H&H 2x15 speaker cabinet. The H&H I had purchased for £150 including a Copycat voice processor from a friend based at RAF Neatishead.

 Thankfully the H&H cabinet was mounted on wheels so was not too difficult to get the few hundred yards form barrack block to photo club.

 Steve had a VOX 30 combo so it was easier to transport.

 Glenn had, by then, got his bass guitar on site.

 Bob had his acoustic and a separate pickup but no amp.

 The photographic club sessions consisted of Glenn sharing one of the inputs on my amp, and Bob sharing an input on Steveís Vox. (One or two photos exist from these sessions).

 

Photo Club Mash

 The club itself was rather cramp for we four guys and what little gear we had at that time. But hey, we were grateful for what we had.

 We went about trying various numbers: Beatlesí Iíve Got a Feeling, Back in the USSR. Led Zeppelin Ramble On, Stairway to Heaven, are the ones I particularly remember us trying out. The idea at this stage was to see what we could do together, what sounded right, what songs had potential. If we could get part of a set of songs that we felt right with then we could concentrate on them for a while and hone them into some sort of acceptable quality.

 I think only a couple of these songs in the early days were taken forwards. Back in the USSR and Stairway to Heaven.

 With regards to Stairway to Heaven, Steve had got the guitar part to absolute perfection, the rest, musically, worked very well. However, I was really never happy with the vocals on this, I was never able to do the original justice. But the guys so wanted to do it that I relented. The softer, early section of the song I had no problem with, it is after the middle section where the vocals turn more rock when my voice rely shows its limitations. I cannot and never will be able to match the sheer brilliance of Robert Plant. Still, this was always intended to be a democratic band so the song was in. An early recording of our days in the Photo club is still in my procession.

 But things were not as good as we felt they could be. There was something in the sound that was still not quiet right. After some discussion over a period of days it was decided that Bob was superfluous. There were really too many guitars in the band and, besides, Steve had already proved himself more than competent on acoustic and electric guitars.

 It was not easy telling Bob this. We had been friends and playing together for nearly 3 years by then. But there was an option. We did feel at that time that keyboards might be a complimentary addition to the overall sound, and if Bob turned up in the future with a keyboard we would give it a try.

 Onto the Youth club and Enter Chris Gray

 For some time now the restrictions of the present rehearsal premises were beginning to take their toll on us. The constant moving of gear from our abodes and back again forced us to search for somewhere more permanent.

 I cannot remember how the Youth Club facility came about. All I do know is that we were presented with an entire upstairs room to ourselves in a spare barrack block. The opposite side was already taken by the Youth club, and to show our thanks we promised them a free gig the moment we were ready. This move also meant that all the gear could now remain in situ!

 Within days of moving in Chris Grey finally turns up for his first session with us.

 You do not really miss a drummer if, like me, you have never played with one. We always knew that even without Bob, there was still something lacking in the overall sound. We were hoping that it wasnít wishful thinking that that missing link was the drummer. We were delighted to discover that we were correct!

 Steve had already told Chris over the phone that one of the songs we would be covering would be The Stranglersí London Lady and that if he was not familiar with it could he please give it a listen to.

 Chris arrived with his rather battered but complete gold coloured drum kit. I think it was a Premier. He commenced to set it up whilst the rest of us hovered around him like seagulls around a farm tractor. Anyone would think we had never seen a drum kit before.

 Off we went, F G C Bb the intro, bang, bang  roll. And off we went. Wow!!! I remember playing with an enormous smile on my face. It was like playing with an engine behind you. This was it. This was what we had been looking for. We were complete!

 It seemed that every song we tried with Chris now, where there may have been some minor doubts even, now worked. It was time to get some more gear.

 We had, up to that point, only the one microphone, and that was a cheap one, requiring a battery to  even work.. This was plugged into a spare input on my H&H amplifier. It was not a perfect solution though, it had its drawbacks. For instance when I sang my guitar was drowned out. Ideally, what we needed was better mics and a cheap PA system.

 I think it was me and Glenn who, the following Saturday nipped down to Chippenham to a second hand shop we had heard about, and there in the window was an amp and a set of floor standing upright speakers. I forget how much we paid for them, but they worked and they were in. We also ended up with 2 Shure mics. We didnít buy them there, thatís all I know. Maybe one of the others can remember where we got them?

 

 

 

 

Page Two

 

Thanks to Glen Hazelden & Pete Mitchell

 

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