|Valentine September 21, 1968|
‘Beggin’’. . .In July this year, that became the best-selling
disc to date of Timebox – a group which for months had been highly
rated on London’s club scene. We think there is a big future for the
group...which was why we decided to ask them all about themselves.
ONE thing which has been puzzling me is what Timebox means. Sounds like something which is going to explode. Is that right?
CHRIS: It could be right in a way. You see, a timebox is an old American jazz term for prison!
Message understood! Now, how about the launching of the group? Where and when did that take place?
PETER: The time was about three years ago. The place: Southport, Lancs. We got our early experience on the local scene.
We came to London in September 1965. We knew we would probably have to work long and hard before the big break came. But that’s show business!
And how did you first get together?
CLIVE: The original line-up was from several Southport groups. Timebox turned professional just before coming to London.
What happened when you arrived in London?
CHRIS: We all shared a house in Tottenham for a start. Work-wise, we did an audition for the Whisky A-Go-Go and were taken on as resident group.
Later we were given a residency at the Marquee. All this gained us quite a following in and around London.
We followed through with residencies at Hatchett’s and the Scotch of St. James.
I seem to remember that early last year you recorded a number by the American jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie. Can you refresh my memory about this?
PETER: It was Soul Sauce. It’s a disc I won’t forget because it featured me prominently on vibes.
While we are on the subject of instruments – who plays what in the group?
PETER: Chris plays organ. Clive is our bass player. John is drummer. Besides vibes, I play guitar.
And Mike is lead singer?
And who produces your discs?
CLIVE: On our present label – Deram – it's Michael Aldred.
Michael, as you probably know, is a popular figure on the scene who first became known through being a compére on Ready, Steady, Go.
When did you start recording for Deram?
MIKE: In November last year. Our first disc for the label was a Tim
Hardin song, Don’t Make Promises.
Who are the newest members of the group?
CLIVE: Mike and John. They joined us just over a year ago.
What had you been doing, Mike? And how did you come to join Timebox?
MIKE: I had been singing with a jazz orchestra. I was introduced to Timebox by John Gee, manager of the Marquee.
How about you, John?
JOHN: I was with Felder’s Orioles for a spell. I saw an advert saying Timebox wanted a drummer.
I went for an audition. I was terrible! But, luckily no-one else showed up.
So Timebox decided to give me a chance.
Were you on Don’t Make Promises?
No. I joined just after. But I was on Beggin’.
Can you please tell us something about Beggin’?
PETER: About 18 months ago – maybe a bit more – it had been a hit in the States for the Four Seasons. But their version hadn’t done much here.
We first heard it in a London club. We liked it at once and decided to include it in our stage act.
We did this for months. Then we went into the disc studios to record another number. We found we had enough time to record Beggin’. Michael Aldred thought it sounded great and it was decided to make it our next single.
Didn’t Timebox once have something to do with a soccer disc?
CHRIS: We did! Just before the Spurs won the F.A. Cup last year, they made an EP called The Spurs Go Marching in. We were the group which accompanied them.
In general, what kind of music do you play?
JOHN: A pretty wide range. Quite a bit of soul music. A lot of really commercial stuff. Maybe a few Beatles numbers. Plus a bit of jazz. We don’t like to be fitted into a small compartment!
There was quite a delay between Don’t Make Promises and Beggin’. Any special reason?
MIKE: We didn’t want a release just for the sake of it. You see, though Promises didn’t make the charts, it did get some good reviews and also resulted in a lot of TV for us.
We felt we had a standard to maintain. It wasn't till that recording of Beggin’ that we felt we had something up to that standard.
What lies ahead?
CHRIS: A lot of stage dates, both in Britain and all over the Continent.
We also have a lot of recording to do and I think we should have an LP out before long. We hope to record a lot of our own songs.
Peter and Mike are writing them and the rest of us are chipping in with ideas. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a very successful future!
By DICK TATHAM
PETER HALSALL: Born Southport, 14th March, 1949.
CLIVE GRIFFITHS: Born Middlewich, 16th May, 1945.
CHRIS HOLMES: Born Cleethorpes, 12th September, 1945.
JOHN HALSEY: Born Highgate, 23rd February 1945.
MIKE PATTO: Born Cirencestar, 22nd September, 1942.
[Return to Top of Page]