So I joined Bev Bevan, Carl Wayne and Roy Wood to become part of The Move #3. At the time that I joined The Move they had 'Blackberry Way' moving up the chart, and before I had learned half the stage show they were at number one. I appeared on 'Lift Off with Ayshea' and 'Top of The Pops' wearing a shirt borrowed from Roy and a pair of Carl Wayne's trousers and shoes. It was my own hair and teeth, honest. The first session that I recorded was 'Curly' and 'This Time Tomorrow'. Little did I know that the group was already in its death throes.
All I knew was, I was going to be a pop star. To me, that meant performing. Nothing else. The machinations of management were a mystery to me. I didn't realise that Peter Walsh Management was steering The Move towards the respectable side of the business. Underground clubs in Ireland soon turned into cabaret clubs in Newcastle and Birmingham. As the new boy, I was on wages and had no input into the business side of things (something I'd live to regret in the not too distant future). Not that I would have been any help at all, I knew nothing about the business. "What business? - This is just for fun isn't it?"
We did quite a lot of cabaret work, much to Carl's delight and Roy's disgust. It wasn't that Carl preferred cabaret work, I think he could see that there was a large untapped market out there. Roy, on the other hand, hated the whole concept. I have vivid memories of an adventurous evening at Batley Variety Club, involving a flying vodka and orange. Over a period of about six months we did most of the Baileys clubs and a few obscure rooms in the north east of England. One evening we wandered into Baileys night-club in Birmingham to look at the room before we performed there, and ROY ORBISON was on stage!
We also toured the USA later that year. It was a tour that should have taken place back in January, but Trevor Burton leaving and me joining the band meant it had to be put off for eight months.
When I say toured the USA, don't run away with the idea that it was all articulated trucks and air-conditioned tour busses - no sir. Five of us, Carl, Roy, Bev, me and Upsy (Loveable Roadie) in a car with a U-Haul trailer on the back - full of gear. Exactly like the words of the song, we drove from Chicago to L.A. along Route 66. Two days off in L.A. and then, after playing The Whisky on Sunset Strip, another long drive up to San Francisco. Upsy and Carl shared the driving. Our prize at the end was that we shared a stage and a dressing room with Little Richard and Joe Cocker.
My drink was spiked that night, my one and only acid trip. Not recommended. It's bad enough taking that muck when you do it on purpose, but quite another thing when you've got no idea why you are feeling so weird! After the concert I was suddenly feeling unwell. Not sick, not dizzy but at the risk of sounding like Phoebe Buffay - strangely hover(y).
Upsy kindly offered to run me back to the hotel and return later for the others. When the rest of the lads got back they found me semi-conscious in the middle of what appeared to be a burgled room. We hadn't been burgled, I had ransacked it, and was in the process of unwinding all of Bev's exposed film. He was not a happy drummer boy, and when it became obvious that I was not about to calm down and let them sleep, he very kindly offered to knock me out. Thankfully, Roy and Carl decided a better course of action would be to take me for a long midnight walk. We walked to a coffee shop where they sat with me most of the night. It was the last night of the tour and we were flying home next day. In the morning, still no better, the others bundled me onto the plane where I slept all the way back to Heathrow. Thank God!
The whole Route 66 journey had been a hideous nightmare. We had been booked into a series of Motels along the route, all sharing one family room. These rooms usually housed one double, two singles and a camp bed - cosy. We had been chased out of a roadside diner/bar by rednecks looking to pick a fight with these longhaired English faggots. When we got to Los Angeles, the hotel that we were booked into refused to admit us. As we walked into the lobby a local looked us up and down slowly and recited those immortal words: "Well, I'll be dipped in shit". It was the first time I'd heard that phrase. I've used it myself many times since, but never to such good effect.
We then had to check in to The Hyatt House on Sunset Strip. All the visiting bands stayed there. It was known locally as the riot house. This is the place where TV's first went out of bedroom windows. Where things were thrown off the roof etc. It sounds like a dump, but it wasn't. After two weeks of sharing a room with the other four, it was sheer luxury to have my own loo at last. The tour was mostly a disaster, done on a shoestring budget.
Because we had a day or so to spare, we decided to visit the offices of A&M Records in Hollywood. They were our record company in the USA. Imagine the blow to our egos when we arrived and nobody knew who we were. Eventually we were invited into one of the pluggers' offices. He waited until we were all present before he pulled our record from the bottom of an extremely dusty pile. Was he trying to make a point, d'ya think? Am I making one now by not remembering his name?
Back home I thought things couldn't be better. How naïve. I was on great money, appearing in magazines and on TV. My Mom could now watch in colour thanks to my new-found wealth. She also filled scrapbooks as if her very life depended on it. I discovered some newspaper cuttings in my Mom's scrapbooks after she died. Some of those magazine articles make me cringe when I read them now. It seems that I had an opinion on everything. I mean, I voiced an opinion then on stuff that I don't even have an opinion about now. You see, flash tosser. Thanks Mick, thanks Laurie.
Although Carl and Roy were finding it harder and harder to work together, nobody was letting on. It wouldn't be long before Carl would leave, but I didn't know it at the time. Most of their disagreements took place in private and, as the management company felt no responsibility toward me, I was the last to know most things.
I left The Move in February 1971, or at least it left me. By then Jeff Lynne had replaced Carl Wayne and although we did half a dozen live performances, it was clear that everyone else in the band was concentrating on the formation of ELO. The first ELO album was started as a Move project. I played bass on all the original tracks, but I have it on good authority that Roy re-recorded all my parts. Hmmm, consigned to digital heaven.
Having such a change of financial circumstances when I joined THE MOVE had allowed Jo and me to put a deposit on a house and get married. Here we were, two and a half years later and despite further hits without Carl, it was all over and we were struggling to pay the mortgage. I was doing the occasional gig, not taking a proper job in case the phone should ring! Jo had to work shifts to pay some of the bills. Both our families chipped in and helped us out from time to time and somehow, with the help of a brilliant solicitor named Aiden Cotter, we managed to hold on to the house. At one point the TV shop even tried to repossess our telly. Cheek!
RIK,MIK and LOL
Around 1970 I'd realised that I needed a manager of my own. Deals were being done that went way over my head and I needed help. Enter Laurie Mansfield. Laurie had been a friend of Jo's for some years, but had recently moved into management of artistes. He had previously been a record company salesman. Oh yes, and he hates being called Lol.
Laurie was based in an office in Leicester Square, which sounded posh enough to me. The senior partners in the firm had been at it for donkey's years. They represented the hottest acts at the time, David Nixon, Rolf Harris and Charlie Drake to name but three. Together (but mostly Laurie) we managed to get an advance for two solo albums from Eddie Kassner at Gemini Records.
Things went fairly badly from day one. Laurie was daft enough to let me look after the advance royalty, and at the time the notion of "budgets" was a mystery to me. I caught up on my mortgage payments, cleared my Amex card and then thought about the recording costs. It took me about two years to pay off the musicians and studio fees. I phoned the record company on April the 5th 2001 to see how my royalties stood. To my horror, I still owed them seven thousand pounds! Which I suppose means we did a good deal if nothing else. Laurie was to pop in and out of my life at very opportune moments from this moment on.
The first Gemini album was just OK - just. The second was complete crap. Actually, it wasn't even that good. I'd love to lay the blame somewhere, but it was all down to me. The best memory I have of it is my five year old son, Warwick, sitting in the corner of the vocal booth eating Jelly Tots while I was laying vocal tracks at the rate of four an hour. I haven't heard it since I recorded it and what's more, I have no desire to do so. So, if anybody reading this thinks I'd be thrilled to get a copy through the post - forget it. When Laurie phoned Eddie Kassner to tell him I was disappointed with the design of the cover, Eddie's reply was "Has he heard the poxy record?"
Laurie also did a deal for Mike Sheridan and me. Mike and I had been writing together for some time and had a shelf full of new songs. Somehow the songs made their way from our shelf to Laurie's shelf, where most of them still are to this day, even though Laurie has moved offices twice! Mike and I had written most of the songs recorded by Sight & Sound and all of the material for our own release "This is to certify that...". I must say, It is a wonder that we wrote anything at all considering the type of encouragement given to us by our respective spouses. Mike's first wife Ann and my Jo both had a way of listening to a new song and just passing a withering look between them. Both of us have continued to write with very little success, so maybe the women-folk were right.
Even stuff that escapes such as 'Lightning Never Strikes Twice' has somehow been wrongly credited to Mr. Wood. Not Roy's fault – a clerical error.