The Magic Highway


Articles about Mike Blakley and Vic Elmes in the early days

Mike and Alan Blakley


By David Hughes

YOU can't keep a good man down!
   And if his surname happens to be Blakley, then you can be certain he's not going to let anything get the better of him.
   Everyone knows noisy, earthy, cheerful, kind-hearted Alan Blakley. Tremeloe supreme and one of the very few people in showbusiness whom no-one dislikes.
   Nothing worries Al for very long, not even when his quiet, modest, unassuming brother Michael steps out of his shadows to dramatically shift the Blakley spotlight .. with a song originally intended for the Tremeloes.
   Michael is drummer with Christie, and Yellow River, poised to top the chart, was turned down by the Tremeloes.
   "Mike and I are still the best of mates," Alan said. "I can't even remember us having an argument in the last 10 years!"
   Mike is five years younger than Alan, but there's no mistaking the faces.
   It's probably the complete opposite personalities of the two which have allowed them to remain such close friends. Mike is everything that Al is not. Mike has been in the business mainly for the music and enjoyment; Alan makes no bones about being in it for the money and the material possessions that money can buy.
   The only bone of contention is musical. "I can't stand all this so-called progressive stuff," says Alan, "and when Mike was with the Epics playing all sorts of heavy music, I kept telling him it'll never do him any good."
   "And I like all the Tremeloes as blokes," Mike said. "But I've never liked their music much. It's been getting better recently though and I liked their last single best."
   "Funny thing is, it was Mike's drum kit that started me playing in the first place," says Alan. "Mum and dad bought Mick this drum kit, and I immediately nicked it and started playing. It wasn't until later that I realised what a flash git I was and switched from drums to guitar!"
   At one time, the shadow of fame seemed almost overpowering for young Mike, and last November the Epics, then rechristened Acid Gallery in a last-ditch attempt at the charts, finally broke up.
   After over six years as a professional drummer, Mike was forced back into office work.
   Says Alan: "I thought that was that. In a way I was pleased. At least he'd got his office and a steady job that would at last bring him in some regular money."
   "We differed there," says Mike, "once you've been in the business professionally for so long you just can't do anything else."

mikevicFOUR months ago Michael Blakley and Vic Elmes turned their backs on a professional career in show business after a five-year unsuccessful bid for stardom.
   But they are back again rehearsing to promote a hit record, thanks to a decision by the Tremeloes not to record a song called Yellow River.
   Michael's group Acid Gallery split up last year, frustrated by their lack of progress in the pop world. Both Mike and Vic went back to work.
   When the Tremeloes recorded Yellow River five different ways and decided they didn't want it released, their publicist Brian Longley asked the song's composer Jeff Christie to record it himself. Mike and Vic were asked to provide the backing.
   Mike, Vic and Jeff, known collectively as Christie, are fully professional again and have gone to Exeter for two weeks to rehearse for stage appearances.