‘The Sharks, the greatest true rock band of the early seventies, are back to shake the planet. Absolutely unbeatable’ Chris Salewicz
• Formed late 1972 to showcase material by ex-Free bass player the late Andy Fraser. The band consisted of Andy, Canadian drummer Marty Simon, acclaimed guitarist, Chris Spedding and a young singer/songwriter from Yorkshire Steve ‘Snips’ Parsons. They signed a deal with Island Records and a management contract with Island supremo Chris Blackwell
It was his suggestion that Chris Spedding’s Pontiac be customised with plastic teeth on the radiator grill and a graphite shark’s fin on the roof.
• The ridiculous ‘shark car’ appears on the sleeve of their debut album FIRST WATER which was produced by Andy Johns and featured songs by Parsons and Fraser. No singles were released. In the same year the band toured the UK with Roxy Music. Musical friendships were formed and Brian Eno’s first album features not only the band but a song called 7 DEADLY FINS. Other fans included the Jones boys: a pre-CLASH Mick and pre-PISTOLS Steve who listened to the band rehearsing in Chiswick when he should have been bricklaying.
• When Spedding crashed the shark car on the way back from a live show it was the end of the road in more ways than one for Fraser who left the band citing ‘musical differences’.
• Sharks recruited a larger than life personality to fill Fraser’s shoes: the late Busta Cherry Jones was an African-American bass player from Memphis with huge talent and an ego to match. Looking for a richer sound the band also recruited a soulful keyboard player named Nick Judd. Together they recorded their second album for Island named JAB IT IN YORE EYE after a quote from Hunter Thompson’s FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. The cover was designed by HIPGNOSIS and is arguably their worst ever.
• In the US MCA records decided to take a different approach to the cover art and came up with something even worse.
• Nevertheless the bands 4 month tour of America was an unqualified success. After 2 years of constant upheaval the band had finally found the audience they deserved. Frank Barcelona, the biggest booking agent in America loved the band and promised them all the gigs they could handle on their return.
• So they came back to the UK and promptly broke up. Cherry stole guitars from Spedding to pay for his air ticket back to the US and Nick Judd de-camped to join the Andy Fraser band.
• Parsons and Spedding attempted to make a 3rd album produced by John Entwistle but Island didn’t care for the material and pulled the plug before it was completed.
• Parsons joined the Baker Gurvitz Army featuring demon drummer Ginger Baker and Spedding launched a solo career with a hit record: Motorbikin’.
• The two have continued to collaborate over the years. Parsons has contributed songs and lyrics to Chris Spedding’s solo albums and in 1980 Spedding produced the Snips album LA ROCCA.
• In 1994 they finally recorded a third Sharks album LIKE A BLACK VAN ON A DARK CURVE with Pete Thomas on drums and Jackie Badger on bass.
• By this point Parsons had forged a second career as a composer for film and TV. Many of his soundtracks feature Chris Spedding contributions.
• Spedding himself continued to explore musical possibilities in the company of artists as diverse as Roxy Music, John Cale, Paul McCartney and Robert Gordon.
• Encouraged by Jimmy Page, Parsons returned to performance in 2011. He asked Spedding to join him in the KING MOB project and together they recruited Glen Matlock, Martin Chambers and younger talent Sixteen. The outfit recorded one album FORCE 9 for the STEAMHAMMER label. It received rave reviews. ’ A brilliant fast paced album’ Bring The Noise. ‘These guys are the new definition of rock blues’ Blues Rock Review
• In an attempt to create music without the ‘heritage tag’ Spedding and Parsons released a single YA YA POP in 2013 under the name PRESENCE LDN which did actually receive a decent amount of radio play.
• Their last collaboration was the Chris Spedding album JOYLAND which was released on Cleopatra Records in 2015. It features contributions from Johnny Marr, Bryan Ferry, Arthur Brown and actor Ian Mc Shane. ‘Great riffs, great ride, great album’ Classic Rock Magazine
• On leaving Sharks Nick Judd teamed up with Andy Fraser and the late Kim Turner. They formed the Andy Fraser Band, recording an album for CBS and toured in the UK and Europe. When Andy left for the US, Nick found himself back in the Frankie Miller Band, returning to Europe for two tours, plus UK-wide dates and recording. More recently he has guested with Madness ‘spin-off’ The Camden Cowboys, and has performed with, among others, Lee Thompson, Steve Rodgers and Will Johns; other recording credits include Brian Eno and Fairport Convention. Nick is currently working with his own trio, and on material for a solo recording project.
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