An Interview with
(Vic answers questions posed by Ray Chan and some fans)
UPDATE: Sadly, Vic passed away in
April 2017, just a couple of weeks shy from his 70th birthday.
In the beginning
I was a self-taught guitarist, I started playing when
I was about eight and a half. I was influenced by people like
Bill Haley, Elvis, and the like. I formed a group with Mike
Blakley in 1963, The Epics, and we spent a lot of time in
2) On the Christie years
I enjoyed being a part of Christie. It's every musician's
ambition to crack a hit record and to get recognition.
In the very early days with Christie, we used to perform
many cover versions of other people's songs, apart from our
hit singles. We rarely performed album tracks.
But I soon developed a desire to write my own songs.
Jeff's songs were very catchy but were also very similar in
style .. I wanted to come up with something different so that
our fans could see that there was more to the band than Jeff's
material. I never really had a favourite song among all my
3) On the Christie sound
We had no set plan as to which style of music we eventually
wanted to play, as the first thing in our minds was to get
a hit record, and then hopefully take things from there.
Nothing frustrated me personally about the commercial
music we were playing, I've always been the kind of person
with the philosophy of being thankful for small mercies. It
was Jeff's idea of trying to turn the band into Led Zeppelin
Mark 2 on the second album.
In the 70s, Dave Cash was one of the top DJs in the
UK with a daily radio show (BBC Radio 1) and a TV show (on
which Christie were prolific guests). He was such a big fan
of Magic Highway that he used
to play the song almost every day on his radio show. He even
stated on air that this song would be the best track Christie
ever recorded. That surprised and flattered me because Magic
Highway was out of character with most of the other
Everything I recorded whilst I was with the band, was
actually released either on the albums or singles. The only
official singles I was involved with after Iron
Horse were, if my memory serves me well, JoJo's
Band, Freewheeling Man, and then Fools'
Gold. The flipside of
JoJo's Band, which was released
only in South America, was California
Sunshine. What happened after I "left Christie"
I know very little about.
4) Life after Christie
I was with the band for three years until
one day in 1973 I was told by the manager that the group would
be disbanding because Jeff wanted to pursue a solo career.
After I left Christie, I got a "normal" job
to make ends meet. I did the odd
television score (Space: 1999).
But I did eventually create a new band called China, and we
released a single featuring songs written by me. Unfortunately,
that project failed when we were let down by our manager.
I went to live in Germany in 1980, when I joined
the Tremeloes for a year, and then after that, teamed up with
Mike Blakley again for a Christie revival tour. The gigs sort
of petered out after that, and I toured the circuit as part
of a duo (singing covers).
I lived for about 10 years in Germany, where I met
Gary Danker in 1987, and together with a drummer Gilles Marquis,
we formed a new Christie line-up. The band evolved into a
foursome by the 90s and we played a few gigs as Jo Jo's Band
and as Christie Again.
5) The future?
In 2004 there was a new album release, covering the original
Christie sound fans like to remember, and featuring new songs.
I continue to write for soundtracks and recently wrote a song
for the reformed Quarrymen.
And you can't say no to the possibility of working
with Jeff again.It's very difficult to know
how things will turn out in the music business. Let's just
say it's not an impossibility.
6) Audrey from Russia wrote:
My favourite Christie song is Magic
Highway. What is Magic
Highway about? How was it written? Which chords did
you use in it?
7) Laurence, Europe , wrote:
The basic premise of Magic
Highway is that power means nothing. All along the
trip through history and time, we see all the powerful men,
leaders and kings, etc, with all their fame and wealth, and
they all ended up the same way: dead. Nothing could help them.
The guitar arrangement is a little bit too complicated
to explain without showing it. So Audrey, I just have to show
you personally the next time you are shopping in London. ;)
Vic, you are such a great guitar player that you
would make a great session musician. Have you taken part in
session recordings and if so, for who?
I did a couple of sessions, eg film music for
At the Earth's Core (featuring
Peter Cushing, Doug McLure ..), Space
1999 (composing as well),
Gary Glam Band, the movie High Looking
High (title song), also the movie The
Ups and Downs of a Handyman (composing as well).
8) Otis, Belgium
I'm a Space:1999
fan, and I've just been given this address from another fan
talking about Vic's contribution
on the main title theme song. I must say that for all those
years, more than 25 now, the guitar riff on the title has
been one of my favorite sounds. I was fascinated by it. I
thought (I was young) that it was the result of incredibly
deep research in a high tech lab, and that Vic Elmes was the
name of an engineer. I never realised you were hairy and flowery
:-) ! But never too late to learn. Thank you anyway for that
I'm also happy to wander in this site. So many
of those songs are classics. To find them is like to play
with souvenirs, a photo album. I'll go and check it again
from time to time.
9) Nic, UK , wrote:
Dear Otis, I thank you for your humorous opinion
(... hairy and flowery... ;)). People like yourself keep the
history alive. We (Christie) went to Belgium in the summer
of 1970 and I have very nice memories of the short time we
spent there. Please continue to support us and the 70s music.
With very best regards and good luck to you in the future.
Hey Vic, did you ever have any kids? And are they
following in your footsteps (playing guitar)?
Yes, perhaps in my last life but not this one.
But I'm still young ;) Thank you for your ongoing interest.
Best regards, Vic.