What a long way from Blackheath, SE3, to Totteridge, north London, N20 to be precise! A few weeks after meeting Calvin Hayes and checking him out -- meeting with him a few other times, over tea, to be sure he was “legit” and not just a wanker trying to get into my knickers -- I deigned to accompany him up to the paternal home, in scenic Totteridge.
Being the second-to-last stop on the black Northern line on the underground, it wasn’t a bad ride, actually, from where I was staying (nearest tube station was Tottenham Court Road) at Gervaise Soeurouge’s. I had Calvin listen to some of my songs -- my demos on cassette -- and he seemed to like them all right. We talked a little bit about putting together a band. . . I don’t think I was really into it unless there was some kind of record deal because I KNEW that Mickie Most -- and Chapman and Chinn, for that matter -- were really into making music that was, er, to be diplomatic, disposable.
And as much as I want(ed) to be successful, I’d like my music to be perhaps more like the kind that’s got a healthy cult following for life -- not just some pop songs that are Shite and over and done with in a few weeks or months. At any rate. . . so much for my philosophy on where I want to be (I’m almost there, almost there, almost there. . .).
I was pretty happy with the way that my songwriting was going, and sure that, with the right producer and treatment in the studio, my songs had merit. They were sort of eclectic, pop/country/rock songs. . . not unlike Elvis Costello, Squeeze, or Kirsty MacColl. . .
And while in London I was really trying to figure out how to get me sold as a singer-songwriter, and how to sell my songs. That’s when I met this strange but sweet young guy, Calvin Hayes, in a crowded West End pub one night. He was a drummer, and his dad had produced numerous hits in his day (he knew Chapman & Chinn, of course). Calvin seemed innocent, young, kind of lonely, and very eager to be liked.
Within minutes of meeting him, he says, “My dad’s Mickie Most. . . I’ll get him to listen to your songs, awl roight?”