December 5, 2004

SJP


Artist: Fludd




Edmund "Ed" Pilling (vocals)
Brian Pilling (guitar)
Mick Walsh (guitar)
Greg Godovitz (bass)
Jorn (JJ) Andersen [aka John Andersen] (drums)
Mick Hopkins (guitar; replaced Walsh)
Peter Csanky (piano, mellotron; replaced Hopkins)
Gord Waszek (guitar)
Peter Rochon (keyboards; replaced Csanky)
Doni Underhill (bass; replaced Godovitz)
Pat Little (drums; subbed for Andersen)
Jim Crichton (bass; replaced Underhill)
Ian McCorkle (drums; replaced Andersen)
Steve Negus (drums; replaced McCorkle)

The roots of Fludd extend as far back as the mid-1960's in Toronto where guitarists Brian Pilling and Greg Godovitz met in high school and shared the same passion for the music of The Beatles.

With the obligatory garage band on their individual resumes, Pilling, Godovitz and Pilling's drumming brother, Ed would form The Pretty Ones in mid-1965. With a short and unexceptional run in Yorkville Village and at high schools around Toronto, the members went their separate ways.

The brothers thought a fresh start would be the best approach and followed their English heritage back to Birmingham, England where they formed a new act called Wages Of Sin - with Ed now on lead vocals, Mick Hopkins and Tony Clarkson (both of The Nicky James Movement/The Way of Life) and Jimmy Skidmore on drums.

After signing with John Singerís Agency in February 1967, the band is sent to Germany for a month to play at the Palleten Club in Fulda, playing mainly for American G.I.'s stationed nearby. During their residency they record a single for the Palleten label ("Hey Joe" b/w "N.S.U.") and was only released in Germany.

Upon returning to the West Midlands in March the band begin playing around the local area, appearing regularly at top venues like the Morgue, the Carlton Club (aka Carlton Ballroom) and the Cedar Club.

In June 1967 they return to the Palleten Club in Germany. At the beginning of July they bring their new harder, more aggressive psychedelic sound back to England. By month's end they change their name to Yellow Rainbow (which is used later as the title of a song by Roy Wood for his band The Move). The band waffles between band names as they complete contracted gigs around Birmingham through August and September.

In early October 1967 folk singer Cat Stevensís brother and manager, David Gordon, invites the band to London to be Cat Stevensí backing band. The band accepts and is placed on a retainer. They complete a number of local gigs, and cancel the remainder of their shows for the year before heading to London where Stevens immediately renames the band to Zeus.

To get a feel for London audiences, Zeus does a warm up show at Middle Earth with The Soft Machine and Sensory Armada in early November 1967. They then spend their time rehearsing with Stevens at the Marquee for their debut in France at the Palais de Sports in Paris on a bill that includes The Spencer Davis Group, The Soft Machine, Dantalionís Chariot, Keith West and Tomorrow. The November 17 show is recorded and broadcast on French television.

In December Stevens takes the band to Pye Studios in London to produce the band covering two of his compositions. The songs are never released. Later in the month Zeus appears at the Marquee in London, doing an opening slot for The Nice.

In the middle of January, 1968 Cat Stevens and Zeus appear at the Winter Gardens Weston-Super-Mare but several weeks later Stevens contracts tuberculosis and is forced into bed rest. Despite being on retainer, the band sits idle with little prospect of gigs and so, in February 1968 the Pilling brothers return to Toronto.

Invigorated by the post-psychedelic British pop sound via acts like The Move, Small Faces and Rod Stewart the brothers are inspired to introduce the sand and to Canadian audiences. With a call to their former Pretty Ones bandmate Greg Godovitz who, in turn, recruits drummer John Andersen and guitarist Mick Walsh, the form Fludd.

Fludd became a staple on the Toronto club scene mixing Anglocentric originals with cover tunes and soon attracted the attention of Warner Brothers Records. Recording on their debut album commenced at Pacific Sound, San Mateo, California with producer and fellow Canadian Adam Mitchell (The Paupers).

The single "Turned 21" was released in late 1971 and rode the Canadian charts for 5 weeks, peaking at #16 nationally. But, the album stalled out and rather than trying to work a follow-up single from the album, Fludd returned to Manta Sound in Toronto with Adam Mitchell to record some fresh ideas in early 1972.

During the interim, Mick Walsh left the band and was replaced by former Wages Of Sin guitarist Mick Hopkins. The band carried on by releasing the single "Get Up, Get Out, Move On" which peaked on the CHUM Chart at #18 in April of '72.

The band was soon dropped by Warner Brothers and Hopkins returned to England to form hard rock act Quartz (they would go on to release half a dozen albums). It became obvious to The Pillings that their guitar-oriented pop and so Fludd turned its watchful eye to England who were always on the cutting edge of musical style and fashion. To that end, they changed their sound drastically with the addition of keyboard player, Peter Csanky.

Meanwhile, Welsh music executive Frank Davies became interested in the group for his own newly expanding Canadian Daffodil label -- home of Crowbar, King Biscuit Boy, et al. Fludd's style worked well with the Small Faces and other Immediate Records acts in their UK catalogue which Davies had licenced around the same time.

Production began at Manta Sound Studio in mid-1972 with producer Lee DeCarlo on the band's follow-up LP, entitled 'Cock On!'. Fludd was determined to be noticed and to be as cocky as their pseudo-British heritage. The title was interpreted literally and the band members posed for what would become a very controversial gatefold photograph -- naked but for the coats they wore.

Davies had a hardtime selling the concept to his distributor, Capitol Records, causing the photo to be scrapped and the album title to be reduced to the unimaginative '...On!' It's interesting to note that Godovitz would have the final say years later by writing the song "Cock On" and releasing it with his successful follow-up act Goddo.

Daffodil took the album to heart and launched three singles -- "Always Be Thinking Of You", "Yes" and "C'mon, C'mon" -- none of which were significant hits other than "Always..." (placing in the Canadian Top-40). And yet, the exposure from moderate airplay on FM stations was satisfactory enough to Daffodil who okayed the recording of another full-length LP.

It was suggested that if the band wanted to absorb a British feel then they needed to record in England. So in the Spring of 1973 Fludd went off to Oxfordshire, England and Mike Oldfield's Manor Studios which had been host to a previous Daffodil project -- Crowbar's 'Bad Manors' LP.

But recording an album in a cavernous castle was a foreign concept to Fludd's members and homesickness led to the departure of Csanky who was replaced by Ottawan Peter Rochon (Mythical Meadow).

Oldfield's own project, 'Tubular Bells', was finishing up and interfered with Fludd's plans in fits and starts. Before the album could be completed, Daffodil scrapped the project due to its escalating costs and brought Fludd home (the tapes remaining in the posession of the studio for some years later).

Daffodil had not released a Fludd recording for nearly 18 months and momentum would soon be lost, so a mad dash back to the previous album for a single yielded an unlikely hit through the final weeks of 1973 with "Cousin Mary". The song breached the Top-20 nationally in Canada.

Inspired by their new-found popularity, Fludd attempted to focus on recording again with a return to Manta Sound in Toronto during Spring 1974. The sessions were produced by Lee DeCarlo and member Brian Pilling and three songs -- "I Held Out", "Brother And Me" and "Dance Gypsy Dance" -- were recorded.

Daffodil committed to releasing "I Held Out" which failed to break the Top20 in Canada and the label dropped the group. With their spirits shattered from the continuous setbacks, Godovitz jumped ship to front his own power-trio group, Goddo. He was replaced by veteran Toronto bassist Doni Underhill (Leigh Ashford, Fingers). Underhill brought with him bandmate Gord Waszek directly from Leigh Ashford.

Brian Pilling had been diagnosed with leukaemia and with his unpredictable reaction to treatments and day-to-day health, Waszek could take up any slack during live gigs and to help the Pillings co-write in the studio.

Meanwhile, during this period of flux, Andersen left briefly to be subbed-in by Pat Little (Chimo, Luke & The Apostles), before returning anew with a change of name -- his birthname Jorn.

Still, Fludd wasn't out of the game yet as the band was being wooed by an old ally -- former Warner Brothers promotions man Tom Williams who, with business partner Alexander Mair, had formed a new label in Toronto called Attic.

Fludd would become the first act signed to Attic and with the three completed songs purchased from Daffodil, proceeded to issue the band's newest single, "Brother And Me", in June 1974. The single was launched with a free concert at Toronto City Hall to 50,000 fans. Williams and Mair even hired a plane to drag a banner over the site and the Mariposa Festival site nearby proclaiming "Fludd Wishes You A Happy Summer".

"Brother And Me" broke the Canadian Top-30, which was considered a success by all parties involved, and so Attic followed that with the single "Dance Gypsy Dance" which failed to chart at all.

With Attic focused on getting recognition for themselves and the band, Fludd, meanwhile had returned to the studio, this time at Sound Quebec in Montreal, for the long anticipated follow-up to 1972's '...On!'. The band emerged with a new line-up and a new Adam Mitchell produced album called 'Great Expectations' in early 1975.

The more aggressively styled single "What An Animal" helped the band achieve their first Top-10 in Canada. Some of this was due to the controversial album cover featuring a very pregnant and semi-clad woman on the cover.

As Ed Pilling explains it in the Attic Records 20th Anniversary box set: "...the model on the cover is my sister-in-law, pregnant with my niece! People called the cover obscene. Some thought it was a large breast. Eaton's and Sam's (The Record Man) wouldn't carry it. The irony was in the Toronto Sun (where) on one page was a picture of the album cover with the headline 'Is This Obscene?' (and) on the next page was an article welcoming Linda Lovelace to town."

Unfortunately, the band's new-found infamy could not be bolstered by touring due to the deteriorating health of Brian Pilling. The Pillings agreed to continue the band as a recording project provided Brian was healthy enough. Other members of Fludd needed to make a living and so Waszek, Underhill and Andersen left to reform Fingers.

Ed and Brian Pilling rallied on with bassist Jim Crichton and drummer Ian McCorkle (Lynx) and set up shop at Thunder Sound in Toronto with co-producer Adam Mitchell in 1975. The sessions produced one single for Attic in 1976 caleed "I'm On My Way".

Despite the failure of the song to chart, Fludd was encouraged by Attic's continued committment to the on-going determination of the band. Steve Negus replaced McCorkle and another version of Fludd continued to record at Phase One Studio in Scarborough, Ontario in 1976 with Brian Pilling producing. The sessions produced two useable tracks -- "Help Me Back" and, the band's final Attic single, "With You".

By this point Brian Pilling was unable to continue and the group disbanded. Attic released a fitting tribute to the band with a powerful 'best of' package in 1977 called 'From The Attic: '71 To '77'. Brian Pilling finally succumbed to cancer on June 28, 1978 at the age of 29 and is survived by a wife and two children.

Crichton, Negus and Rochon would go on to form Saga in 1977; Waszek went on to join several Toronto bands, including reformed versions of Leigh Ashford and Motherlode, and a steady gig for most of the 1990's as guitarist for The Eagles tribute band Desperado; Jorn Andersen became a successful sideman/session player with the likes of Murray McLauchlan & Honeymoon Suite among others; Doni Underhill went on to join the very successful West Coast outfit Trooper.

Godovitz had great success in the '70's and early '80's with Goddo (who also did a stint with Attic Records). As a tribute to his best friend Brian Pilling, Godovitz entered Studio 306 on June 11, 1980 with Goddo, Bob Segarini and several other Toronto musicians to record the Pilling/Godovitz song "Fortune In Men's Eyes" and a remake of the Fludd song "Homemade Lady". The songs were released as a benefit single on El Mocambo records and the proceeds donated to a fund for Pillings' children.

Ed Pilling had also continued recording over the years intermittently between his day work as a home renovator in Pickering, Ontario.

Following his stint with Goddo, Godovitz joined power-pop combo the Carpet Frogs in 1994. Not long after the release of their debut CD, 'Frog Curry', he left the band. He re-teamed with his old bandmate Ed Pilling in 1997 under the handle No Flies On Frank. Goddo would later resurface in 2000 for their 25th anniversary, have their back-catalogue re-issued by Bullseye Records and Godovitz would release his autobiography "Travels With My Amp" and a solo DVD 'Up Close & Uncomfortable'.

Fludd continues to this day with Ed Pilling and his younger brother Steve. Rounding out the act is Dan Todd (drums), Steve Shelski (guitar) and Jim Crichton (bass). A new CD of material called 'Fludd Lights' was released in 2006 but was never sold commercially.

With notes from Greg Godovitz, Nick Warburton, Ed Pilling, Kevin Shea, and Frank Davies.




Singles
1971 Turned 21/Easy Being No One (Warner Music) WB-7531
1972 Get Up, Get Out And Move On/A Man Like You (Warner Music) WB-7576
1972 Always Be Thinking Of You/Can You Be Easy (Daffodil) DAF-1025
1973 Yes/Down Down Down (Daffodil) DFS-1032
1973 Cousin Mary/C'Mon, C'Mon (Daffodil - UK) DDK-5219
1973 Cousin Mary/Home-Made Lady (Daffodil) DAF-1042
1974 I Held Out/All Sing Together (Daffodil) DAF-1047
1974 Brother & Me/Piece of Alright (Attic) AT-100
1974 Dance Gypsy Dance/Boarding School (Attic) AT-103
1975 What An Animal/Boarding School (Attic) AT-107
1976 I'm On My Way/Great Expectations (Attic) AT-114
1976 Help Me Back [Long Version]/Help Me Back [Short Version] (Attic) DJAT-134
1976 Help Me Back/Way You Get Around Me (Attic AT-134 1977 With You/How's Life Breaking? (Attic) AT-164

Albums
1971 Fludd (Warner Brothers) BS-2578
1972 ...On! (Daffodil) SBA-16020
1975 Great Expectations (Attic) LAT-1001
1977 From The Attic '71 to '77 (Attic) LAT-1027
1994 Greatest Expectations (Pacemaker)
2001 Cock On! [re-issue] (Unidisc) AGEK-2157
2006 Fludd Lights (independent)

Video


Compilation Tracks
1971 "Can You Be Easy" on 'Proven Blooms' (Daffodil) SBAO-16009
1972 "Can You Be Easy" on 'Maple Music - Vol. 1' (MMJ)  MMJ-1
1975 "What An Animal" on 'Canadian Gold - 22 Karat Hits' (K-Tel) TC-225
1990 "Cousin Mary" on 'Best Of Canadian Rock' (Silver Eagle/Polytel)
1994 "Brother And Me" on 'Caught In The Attic' (Attic)



Nick Warburton's Fludd Archive
COMING IN OCTOBER 2011: The book version of the Encyclopedia.

Click on the image and pre-order now!


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