The Magic Highway


An Interview with Roger Flavell
(Extracts from a series of chats conducted by Ray Chan)

RogerQ) First of all .. how do you pronounce your surname?

A) Fla-vell, emphasis on the vell, rhymes with "well". Danny used to call me Razor Flannel!

Q) What are you doing these days?

A) I am still a professional musician, playing and writing Christian music as well as playing in a secular band.
  I am currently part of a soul music group called Soul Reddy, and play in a tribute show to Otis Reddy.

Q) When did you join Christie?

A) Around 1972, when Lem Lubin left. I knew some people from Edison Lighthouse who had toured with Christie, and they told me of the vacancy for a bass player.
  I teamed up with Jeff, Vic and Paul, and we did a tour of South America, visiting Argentina and Paraguay.
  When we returned, things fell apart and Paul and Vic left. Jeff and I then auditioned for new members, and we recruited Danny Kreiger and Terry Fogg, in spring of 1973 probably.

Q) That line-up changed as well.

A) Danny and Terry hung around for a while. But they did leave eventually and we replaced them with Tony Ferguson, Roger Willis, and Graham Whyte. Graham did a disappearing act on us, not turning up on the day we left for a South American tour!

Q) Did you play on any singles?

A) I played on The Dealer, I'm Alive, Navajo, Guantanamera, on which I sang lead ... We played those songs on stage, as well as the three big hits and Jo Jo's Band. I remember we did covers of Positively 4th Street, Johnny B Goode, standards like those.

Q) You went to South America a lot.

A) We had thousands of fans there. Our finest hour was probably at Bogota, when we played to more than 24,000 people.
  I remember an embarrassing incident on one of the trips when we arrived at the Colombian airport from Buenos Aires at 3am, tired, and had to face the press. We were bleary-eyed and so fed up with the usual questions that when someone asked if we took drugs, we said something like, 'Yes, aspirin'. Only it didn't come out like that .. the headline in the paper said "we don't talk about drugs, we take them!".

Q) What happened after you left Christie?

A) After our very last tour, Mexico in 1974, we called it a day. I became a session musician and played with several artists, and participated in Johnny Wakelin's hit In Zaire.
  I played in a cabaret band as well, and in 1982 joined the Byron Band, an Uriah Heep offshoot. It was a fine group, and the sound was certainly heavier than Christie's!
  I also wrote songs, including working with Vic Elmes on TV scores, such as music for the Gerry Anderson program The Animates.
  In 1996, I toured with Lonnie Donegan.

I keep in contact with Jeff irregularly, and hope to catch up with Vic soon. In fact, I'd love to catch up with everyone else like Paul, Danny and Terry.

In the late 60s, Roger was a member of the band Magic Roundabout, pictured on left at the top and right at the bottom.