THE COZMIK FAMILY - STILL FLYING
If the first year zero for the Pink Fairies might be considered to have been in 1969 in Vancouver when The Deviants sacked their founder Mick Farren, and the remaining trio of Paul, Russell & Sandy (plus Boss) continued playing without him, while he returned to London to drunken pranks with the so called Pink Fairies Rock n Roll Band and Motorcycle Club, soon to mutate into The Pink Fairies upon the return of the trio of ex-Deviants, then the most recent year zero has to have begun on July 27th 2013 when the self same Mick Farren shuffled off his stool and out of this world in front of a packed Borderline club with a reformed Deviants, who had been playing together for a couple of years since Mick and Andy's return from Los Angeles.
After a few false starts, including an appearance at Glastonbury as the Last Men Standing, during which yours truly was briefly a member on 2nd guitar, the line up settled to consisting of Mick, Andy, Russell, Sandy and Jaki Windmill. I'd introduced Mick to Jaki a couple of years before, and we both hooked up with the band, playing a few benefit gigs with varying line-ups for Boss, who had health problems, even before Andy returned. After my final gig at the Borderline in 2012, Jaki stayed on adding a kind of female Sid James dynamic to the band and making for a markedly different chemistry to the line-ups people recalled from the 70s and 80s. But it worked!
The tragic loss of Mick (who had actually said he didn't really want to reach seventy in the ill health he was suffering, and would prefer to go out rocking - he died a few weeks before his 70th - was of course a huge blow on many levels, both musical and personal - but a momentum had already started with both Mick and Andy writing new material as well as wowing audiences with old favourites like 'Billy The Monster' and tunes recorded while they were both living in LA such as 'Aztec Calendar'. As I recall it, it was Russell in particular who felt it would be wrong to let the band fizzle out on such a sad note, and before long more rehearsals were booked, this time with old friend of the band George Butler on 2nd drum kit - a nod to the twin drums of the original line up and a guarantee of a mighty wallop of energy from the back of the stage.
And so it was that on a memorable night in London City in May of 2014, The PINK FAIRIES once again mounted the stage - this time at 100 Club in Oxford Street to a packed house. The mooted appearance of Paul Rudolph didn't take place for logistical reasons, but anyone who was disappointed at first was surely converted by the end of a mighty set that saw Russell take lead vocals on some numbers, Sandy on a few, and both Andy and Jaki on others...The set comprised many old favourites from all stages of the band's career, from the early band's take on Tomorrow Never Knows to the late 80s Waiting For The Ice Cream To Melt (a Farren song for the Fairies), and even a new number Skeleton Army. Even ex-Fairy Larry Wallis's Police Car was given an airing - truly a musical history lesson with a huge punch. And god was it hot in there!
Far from being a one-off (actually they had already done a warm up gig in Bilston's Robin 2 venue) the 100 Club gig has signalled the start of a new phase in the long history of the Pink Fairies and you will see as you navigate around this site there are gigs a plenty looming, with quite a few already under their belts (including the Hop Festival where Sandy's son Billy took George's place due to prior commitments by the great Mr. Butler). Who would have imagined, back in 1969, that the energy, commitment and audience would still be there all these years later? But it is true - they are back and in the Pink! While the emphasis is on the older material (as Sandy said to me - that's what the fans want really) who knows what the future may bring - I for one thank goodness that the decision to continue was made, and the world is surely a better place with the Pink Fairies out there doing what they do best. It's rock n roll - and the message is keep doing it!
So to Andy on guitar, Sandy on bass, Russell and George on drums and Jaki on percussion and keyboards, thanks for keeping the spirit alive and flying the flag - The PINK FAIRIES are well and truly back and the future looks bright once again!
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Russell Hunter Sandy Sanderson Andy Colquhoun