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Shand Grenade

Continuing with blast from the past, another band down the list of ‘heavy hopefuls’ circa 1976 is actually more progressive and fusion than heavy…

Ian Gillan Band

Ian Gillan (vocals), Ray Fenwick (guitar), John Gustaffson (bass), Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards), Mark Nussyef (drums).

Ex-Deep Purple, Episode Six vocalist Ian Gillan, after such a long time away from the scene, is about to re-emerge with an excellent new group, once dubbed ‘Shand Grenade’, now simply the Ian Gillan Band.

Which is fine by me, as we’ve been without the ‘silver-throated screamer’ for far too long. The Gillan Band’s line-up has a long list of impressive credentials – Gustaffson is from way back, he was involved with the Liverpool scene, having played with the Big Three and the Merseybeats and, more recently, was a member of Quatermass and free-lanced with Roxy Music. Fenwick has been around for some time as well, mostly doing session work, although he did shoot to fame for a while with a tacky band called Fancy whose version of ‘Wild Thing’ was a hit throughout much of the world. He was also a member of the Spencer Davis Group. Nussyef was once part of the Velvet Underground and has also played with Hard Stuff and Elf, along with Mickey Lee Soule.

The Gillan Band`s first album, soon to be released, is a supremely powerful debut and features a re-done (if not for the reasons we have been given) version of Purple’s ‘Child In Time’, the song that made the Gillan voice.

They may not be the potential superstars that record label counterparts Rainbow are, but a hot new outfit, nonetheless.

Recommended album: ‘Child In Time’ (as yet unreleased) (Oyster).

Thanks once again to Geir Myklebust for keeping the history alive.



14 Comments to “Shand Grenade”:

  1. 1
    Ivica says:

    Great concert “Live At The Rainbow” 1977, great musicians ,there is Colin Towns on keyboards and flute … and rock legend on bass John “Johnny” Gustafson .Bass line in first song “Clear Air Turbulence” is reminiscent of Duran Duran “Rio “, John Taylor similar groove and feel. IGB Jazz / Funk fusion is fantastic playing and Big Ian ,his voice is great .

  2. 2
    Buttockss says:

    Prefer the Gillan band over his jazz/fusion stuff. Ian’s voice style was meant for the rock/punk sound.

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Still cannot get the mismatch here with Ian Gillan & the ‘progressive’ musicians. It just doesn’t work to my ears, not to worry. At least Gillan was out & about doing what he does best. Certainly a very good band with loads of talent & the important thing here is the Colin Towns link with Ian Gillan. That led to some good ‘rock’ music in the Gillan band along with John McCoy, Mick Underwood & Bernie Torme, they rocked! Much more suited to Gillan’s style of singing.
    All the best to one & all here at thehighwaystar & thanks for everything. Another year on planet earth beckons. Cheers.

  4. 4
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    Utter garbage, a lot of the instrumentation. I told Ian that years ago and he agreed.

  5. 5
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Well since DP MK3 was singing MK2 music and songs then it makes sense that IG would do the same with his band.
    I like the fact that he did it in different form and dressed it up in a new style.
    Ian Gillan wasted a lot of time on enjoying himself and drank and party well.
    For me he wasn’t surrounded by the right people and management to get him on the right track but still he was singed up by virgin label and that’s helped him a lot to get back on track.
    I still admire the fact that he didn’t do the fun and drinking half heartedly he was truthful to his desire to enjoy life at this time of his life.
    Peace

  6. 6
    VD says:

    I like IGB, they did some great stuff on “Clear Air Turbulence”.

    They also delivered a killer version of “Child in Time” in the “Live at Budokan” album. No kidding, check it out if you haven’t – it’s stellar.

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    When Purple split in 1976, Ritchie had already taken the safe route, but at least he was honest about it: “We’re not the ones playing new music, Deep Purple will be playing the new music, we carry on what Deep Purple used to do best.”

    David Coverdale would also – after two solo detours – embark on something not too far removed from the Purple root, you could always find something to latch onto as a Purple fan in WS’ early material.

    Tommy Bolin basically went back to what he had done before though Private Eyes had some distinct Purple influences in sound with much more prominent Hammond playing (than on Teaser), courtesy of ex-Vanilla Fudger Mark Stein.

    The others, however, really attempted something new: Roger’s brave Butterfly Ball and Elements excursions in Beatles and Mike Oldfield territory, Little Ian’s & Jon’s ambitious and sadly ill-fated PAL-project trying to bring Little Feat type music to British audiences as well as Glenn’s utterly committed RnB outing with Play Me Out. None of it commercially successful of course, but certainly not riding on DP’s arena rock coattails.

    AND THEN THERE WAS THE IAN GILLAN BAND WHICH TRIED NEW PATHS TOO !!!

    (Don’t read any further if you hate them, I will be mostly embarrassing myself.)

    I’ll be waving their flag here, I’m a great, gushing fan. GILLAN (the successor band) had a nice punkish/nerdy/nervous vibe and was a gas to watch live; their songwriting was a chequered affair though, alternating brilliance with the mundane/noisy. But the Ian Gillan Band – all three studio releases (each one with a different emphasis, yet sounding cohesive put together) plus the excellent live album(s) – was musically spotless for me.

    Their debut already featured brilliant songcraft, the twin lead vocals of Ian and Gus are to die for

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmjQoBUq_E8 ,

    the whole side two of the original LP with its “Pink Floyd meets Santana Abraxas era”-groove (also prominent in their treatment of Child in Time) was awesome.

    Clear Air Turbulence is a piece of art and I thought that Ian non-bluesy and non-soul style vocals were a refreshingly new take on the jazzy/Steely Dan-influenced music of the band which did, however, at all times retain Brit grit (that rhymes!).

    Finally, Scarabus (the album), proved that they can transform their art also into shorter songs with lots of energy. Don’t tell me those guys couldn’t rock …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Mh7GBi8728

    The Budokan recordings were the cherry on the pie – IGB could transport their complex music to stage convincingly. And, yes, I think their funk treatment of SOTW was lovely and musically highly creative as well as flashingly executed (the GILLAN performances of the song were bricklayer’ish in contrast).

    The line-up was formidable too: John ‘Gus’ Gustafson, the man you hear and see playing the iconic bass lines here

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n3OepDn5GU ,

    had an idiosyncratic sound, rhythmic feel, attack and bite in his (plectrum) playing and, of course, a great voice.

    Mark Nauseef as a drummer was for me in the league of Simon Phillips and Terry Bozzio, no less, breathtaking bass drum technique and so much enthusiasm in his playing. Lest we forget: His percussion work had also greatly enhanced Jon’s Sarabande (that’s his percussion intro):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnYMXzgpHn4

    Pity (if not surprising) that following the IGB’s demise he left rock increasingly behind and devoted himself to his true loves world music and hard core jazz.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAJNvrV8K0w

    But just listen to his drumming here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5LiKidFtZY

    Ray Fenwick, a Brit. session star, never left as much a personal stamp on any music he participated in as on IGB’s songs – thank you for never trying to be Ritchie Blackmore. His guitar playing (with its interesting Beatles & US Westcoast/Carlos Santana combination influence) gave the band’s sound warmth. And btw: Not all of Fancy was as cringeworthy as their Wild Thing soft porn debut single!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f1j3CWZE58

    Finally, Colin Towns was a one-of-a-kind keyboarder, with jazz and new wave as well as ambient sound (I liked his soundtracks too) influences all rolled into one – coupled with a dazzling technique and amazing songwriting chops. I’d compare him to Eddie Jobson in his UK (his band with John Wetton) phase (another great underrated band), he was that good.

    Big Ian really sang on (for him) unchartered territory, but he did it with aplomb and was totally up to the task (with some nice autobiographical input at his usual excellent standard). Those few jazz rock afficionados that were not scared away by Ian’s ‘ex-DP’ tag and actually gave IGB a listen/a chance would laud his vocal approach on songs like Goodhand Liza

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83Sip4Jb8Gk

    and Angel Manchenio (with a lovely Ray Fenwick Flamenco intro!).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODpAiY53T-0

    Clear Air Turbulence had glowing reviews in German music mags that wouldn’t have touched DP with a ten-foot-pole. But mostly, of course, the people that wanted to hear the ex-DP singer on IGB albums were disappointed/confused by the music and those who would have appreciated the music were scared away by ‘ex-Deep Purple lead singer’ stickers.

    And I could never understand why some people thought IGB’s music ‘cold’ or just ‘technical’, a song like, say, Five Moons is to me emotionally gripping:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkXcjCEyt88

    If I may utter a Christmas wish: Dear Steven Wilson, would you pleeheeze reMIX all of IGB’s work in a boxed set? I’m sure that Clear Air Turbulence offers a world of musical details more that you could sonically unveil!

    Ok, fan boy fawning over, never did just one post so much about IGB (without mentioning Hurricanes once, but only Clear Air Turbulences …), thanks for bearing with me ; – ) – frohe Weihnachten!

  8. 8
    BreisHeim says:

    You are right Uwe.
    IGB was great. I wish they would have continued on for a little longer.

  9. 9
    Georgivs says:

    @7

    Great band, great music, great accolade from you. Totally agree. For musical details of CAT, try the Rockfield Mixes version. It has a crystal clear sound and you can hear everything that’s going on.

    And yes, compared to IGB, Gillan the band had tons of filler on their records. The bonus part of Glory Road is mostly leftovers, and Future Shock would much benefit from being condensed to 10 tracks out of 20 that you could find on the modern day CD edition.

  10. 10
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Uwe @7
    Your analysis coupled with the links are so justifiable and I agree with your love of IGB.
    My opinion that collectively as an album materials was not so great but it had individually some great moments and the guys in the band were good musicians but the magic was not there collectively.
    Commercially you only need one big hit and your career takes off and even in the later years when IG dropped the ‘band bit’ and called it Gillan they never had a top 10 single hit and even according to the internet that Gillan as a band sold over 10 million copies only future shock made it no 2 in the charts.
    If you ask anyone in the street about Rainbow as a band they quickly recall since you ve been gone or I surrender but only the few would say RJD stargazer or gates of Babylon. And that the problem with IGB as noone links a hit to its name. Songs like New Orleans, trouble, no laughing in heaven were all top 40 singles but they hardly get the airtime on the radio.
    I love Ian Gillan as a singer and I love the way he was fearless to step into any kind of music and put all his heart and soul into it.
    But for me his heart and soul were never there in the Ian Gillan Band.
    Maybe he was still scarred from leaving DP and trying to get his feet on the ground but his magic on stage was never lot.
    Merry Xmas
    Peace.

  11. 11
    RB says:

    I really like the IGB, with Clear Air Turbulence the top of the tree, followed by Scarabus and then Child In Time (bit hit and miss on the debut). I remember playing CAT to two drumming friends of mine and they pointed out out the repetitive opening and closing hi-hat that Nauseef employs, and now I find it hard to stop focusing on it (and it does quickly become irritating).

    @4 – bit rude to tell an artist that a three album period in their history was “utter garbage,” there are ways to put things after all. I do think that all of the IGB and Gillan albums could do with a decent remix as they’re a little flat-sounding.

    @9 – Future Shock is a good album and about half the songs are merely single b-sides rather than being part of the original album.

    For the most part the Gillan albums are pretty consistent (especially the three with Bernie), and had moments that were more adventurous than Rainbow had been in a while and more so than Whitesnake had ever been.

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Adventurous” is a good way of describing GILLAN (the band), they took chances, not everything worked, but hell they had guts. But I think their punk energy and their raucous sound hurt their sales in the US and Europe while it found appreciation in ole Blighty. GILLAN albums always sounded a little rushed and demo’ish. Martin Birch/Roger Glover provided both Rainbow and Whitesnake with a more accessible sound.

    My fave GILLAN albums are Glory Road and the studio side of Double Trouble (also their best production soundwise), both albums have great songwriting. Ironically, for all its popularity, I like Future Shock the least, that was a harsh-sounding affair to my ears and there were too many hi-speed songs on it which I’m not a fan of. Anything much faster than Highway Star tends to go over my head, for that reason I never liked Kill the King either and avoid speed metal bands like the plague.

    Mr Universe was a good album too, you could hear how gleefully Ian tore into singing hard rock (with a punkish attitude) again. When Magic came out, otoh, I already detected that something was amiss within the band, that album sounded so unhappy and outright disturbed.

  13. 13
    ivica says:

    @ 12
    I agree with what you wrote
    To add my personal impression of following Deep Purple and whole Purple family all these years.
    No one played “Smoke on the Water” more energy ,passionately and excitingly (except lead co -author Ritchie … of course) guitar line by punk- rocker Bernie Tormé. Neither Janick Gers, Steve Byrd, Steve Morris nor technically much more trained guitarists like Tommy Bolin, Ray Fenwick, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, first to Ritchie ..Torme ….. with logistics (Mc Coy-Underwood) and great Ian, of course… best cover

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0e6XttHdrk

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Bernie was sloppy as hell (but so were Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page) live, but he played with real zest and an almost sexual appreciation of his instrument (again like Hendrix). He was also great to watch and in his Adam Ant look a true original. I thought that Steve Byrd was a more refined and original player and Janick Gers of course pleasantly (to DP fans at least) echoed Blackmore’s influences more, but something irrevocably broke when punkish Bernie left the classic GILLAN line-up.

    He would have been great as a lead guitarist with the Rolling Stones! Or with The Cult. His work with Desperado (with Dee Snider of Twisted ‘fucking’ Sister and Clive Burr of Iron Maiden) was noteworthy too.

    A lot of SOTW versions by other people tend to sound pedestrian. For some reason, I always liked the way Bolin played it, swinging and playful (true to his character), not stern and monolithic. To die-hard Purplites, his style of playing it was of course anathema. ; – )

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