THE GREAT VOCE OF THE ROOSTER, THE ATOMIC ROOSTER THAT WAS AND STILL IS TODAY
Atomic Rooster is a British Progressive Rock group born in 1969 by Vincent Crane on keyboards, Nick Graham on bass and Carl Palmer on drums, that later left the group to form “Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Peter French came part the “Atomic” with the third album called “In Hearing Of” that included the hit “The Devil’s Answer” that reached number 18 in England. Then on board came Steve Bolton on guitar and Chris Farlowe on vocals, and they relised the album “Made In England”.
Beside Peter and Steve, of the Atomic Rooster at Brudstock, there’s Tony (Shug) Millidge on bass, Bo Walsh on drums and Tom Szakaly on keyboards.
Cesare Greselin; Today we are at Brudstock with Peter French the voice of Atomic Rooster, how are you dear Peter.
Peter French; Today I’m wonderful in this beautiful town and the country that I live the most, Italy.
CG; Up to this moment that you have been here, since yesterday, what do you think of the Brudstock Festival and this area of Italy?
PF; Stunning, fabulous, I cannot say enough, I have been warmly treated in such a wonderful way the people are very in branching, the weather the mountains, Italy is so beautiful, you can’t bit it.
CG; Have you any projects as a solo artist and with Atomic Rooster?
PF; People have asked me if I would like to do another solo album because my only and first solo album was many, many years ago. I have some songs, manly ballets that I may use with Rooster, it’s quite a new song book from the originally beside Steve Bolton and myself it’s a Re Rooster if you like to call it. Now we are doing material from the two best albums in my opinion of Atomic Rooster “Death Walks Behind You” and “In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster” which was the best period rock honor of Atomic Rooster. And a selection of tracks like “Tomorrow Night” and “Devil’s Answer” so it will make a good song book of all the songs to make it a good show. So that is what we are concentrating on because the band has been relative new, we’ve together for about a year and it’s been a bit patchy along the way with a few problems we have had our hiccups on the way but it looks very interesting. We have some good gigs come up, we are going to Poland in Norway, possibly Germany we have to see about that, it makes it much more exciting and been here is fantastic and we have been ask to come back to Italy and I personally agreed.
CG; How did Vincent Crane chooses you?
PF; Well I did an album call Leaf Hound which my cousin and myself wrote, formally it was “Black Cat Bones” we took it and turned into a rock band, because we got feed up basically playing in 12 bares blues. So we did the Leaf Hound album that has become quite legendary, I’m proved to say, the original is worth quit a fortune. Vincent got to hear the album and so di John Du Cann and they both asked me to join the band. Because John did not consider himself as a main singer, he wanted a lead vocalist. So I was delighted when they asked me to come down to the studio and try to record “In Hearing Of” which I did and it sounded fantastic the sad thing that happed shortly after was that John fell out over Vincent , not because of me, over the fact they were crashing over ego’s at the time. So John left the band with Paul Hammond at the time of “In Hearing Of”, he wanted to form his own band and if I remember correctly it was called “Hard Stuff”. He asked me to go with him and said I can’t go with you because I have just done the album with Vincent. So then Rick Parnell and Steve Bolton joined the band for the replacements and we did the American tour, the Canadian tour and various other places. So that’s how it come.
CG; You also played the album “Beck, Bogert, Appice”?
PF; No I did not sing on it, I wrote the lyrics of “Lady” and “Lose Myself With You” on that album, I was with “Cactus” previously. Cactus was formed preventively by the claps of “Vanilla Fudge” after they did a tour by mistake with “Led Zeppelin” that they blow them off the stage. So then they formed “Cactus”, they did two albums then I was on “Ot ‘N’ Sweaty” abbreviated, that was recorded live in Porto Rico studio, at the same time Jimi Hendrix was recording “Electric Lady Land” in New York. “Ot ‘N’ Sweaty”, it’s a fabulous album, it caught the real rock ‘n’ roll, it caught the magic of the live it’s got the studio it dynamite and it got great reviews all through America, we did two American tours it was super. Sadly what happened, against advice of Rod Steward and Ron Wood that told Carmine Appice don’t break up Cactus because Beck is not reliable, he always leaves bands. They went with Jeff Beck and they last a year then it clasped to think that Cactus at that time was a very hot band. So I come back from America and I was on Atlantic Records and I come back to England.
CG; Can you tell me about “Randy Pie”?
PF; “Randy Pie” yes I came back still shined to this American organization that would let me get out of this contract, so for three years I could do anything, not a thing. Then Mick Batory used to run Chappell Music he had a real good German band called “Randy Pie” who have done already a couple of albums and they were looking for a English singer. I got the audition and lived in Hamburg for three years and recoded the “Fast Forward” where I wrote most of the lyrics and did two German tours and that’s “Randy Pie”. Then I did my solo album in Germany.
CG; Yes please tell us about it “Ducks In Flight” was the title, right?
PF; That come about with Polydor that fired “Randy Pie”, they called me in the office because they messed them around terribly, they spending a lot of money. Seeing I had done so much work that they appreciated, they asked me if I would you like to do a solo album? I said yes, but only if I can go back to England to record it because I did not know any German musicians. So I went back to England and got Geoffrey Haslam to produce it, that had produced the Cactus album. Then I got Kenny Jones from the “Faces”, then Brian Robertson from “Thin Lizzy”, “Whitesnake” Micky Moody, Tim Hinkley on keyboards a lot of fantastic musicians. We did this album “Ducks In Flight” which we recorded in Jethro Tull’s studio that is how that came about.
CG; Listening to “Leaf Hound” and in one of the songs it sounds and if Led Zeppelin got a little influence from you, do you agree?
PF; I love Led Zeppelin, I went to see them many times, I can see a connection there somewhere, it can happen, it was not done intentionally for sure.
CG; You did something also with the “Yardbirds”?
PF; Yes, I actually did in fact, I did a copy of track on an album that was a compilation called “Family Tree: Birds Of A Feather” released in 2007.
CG; Is there anything you would like to add to my interview that I have not asked?
PF; In all sincere we have been welcomed in a fantastic way, so the band and I are looking forward in giving you a great show tonight, so that next year you want us back.
CG; Thank you for the interview and we’ll see each other tonight at the concert.
Atomic Rooster Live in Brudstock Festival
Interview and pictures by "Little Cesare" Greselin
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