From the June 1970
issue of Beat Instrumental, a magazine devoted to sound
and studio recording techniques.
JEFF Christie would have been happier had his group
Christie not been formed.
Why so regretful? Jeff wrote Yellow
River and it was extracted from a pile of tapes in
the fond hope that The Tremeloes
would record it. In fact, they did, but in Spanish, for
release in South America and Spain.
"Actually, I'm choked they didn't record
it in Britain and America," Jeff said. "I'm certain
it would have done them a lot more good than (their single)
By The Way, and it also would
have been a lot more better for me."
Having had it turned down, Jeff could have
returned it to the pile of dust-collecting tapes and thought
no more about it. But there was considerable interest from
managers and agents. So Christie the group was formed, primarily
for the recording sesson.
But the three members aren't new to pop. Group
drummer Mike Blakley is younger brother of Tremeloes lead
guitarist Alan. Mick covered most of Britain working with
Vic Elmes, now Christie lead guitarist, but then with Acid
Gallery and The Epics.
"I did have my own group, The
Outer Limits, but I broke them up last May," Jeff
said. He lives in Leeds, but still concentrates on working
in backing bands for visiting cabaret artists.
"But we'll be making live appearances
with Christie," he said. "We've already taped
some variety performances, such as for the Mike and Bernie
Winters Show. But I'll also carry on with the cabaret work!"
What Jeff is concentrating on is an idea for
boosting the sound of his three-piece band. "It's fine
in the studios, but on stage you can't double-track things
and you have to augment. We're hoping to add someone who
can play electric piano. I already play bass, piano and
Indian nose flute, but it'll be impossible for me to add
all those sounds as well as sing. If we can find a good
pianist, though, I'd like to feel freer to move around,
featuring different instruments.
"Vic uses a Fender guitar, and Mike, as
well as playing Ludwig drums, is trying to learn piano.
But apart from augmenting, we've some other ideas.
"When I was with The Outer Limits, we
used an old five-foot high coffin as an amplifier. The father
of one of the boys made coffins and that gave us the idea.
We fitted it out with speakers and found that the sound
was very satisfying. It gave more depth, somehow. So we'll
go on using the coffin with Christie!"
Jeff has stockpiled over 130 songs and reckons
there at least 20 he hasn't yet taped. "I used to write
music down," he said. "But now I prefer to tape
my own compositions. I write the words down and I can hold
the melody lines in my head for eight, nine or ten months.
Then I get to taping them."