Week of March 19, 2000


Although being highly praised and lauded as a band of the future on the release of their debut LP and supplementing single, "Black Sheep Of The Family", Quatermass remained an insider tip throughout its brief duration. The trio consisted of bass player/vocalist John Gustafson, keyboardist Peter Robinson and Mick Underwood on drums, all distinguished players who went on to become much sought-after studio and backing musicians. The members met while partaking in an experimental sextet, which developed into Quatermass in September 1969. Prior to that, Gustafson belonged to the outrageous Casey Jones, followed by the Beatles alternative, The Big Three, finally ending up with The Merseybeats. Robinson performed with Chris Farlowe's band, and Underwood, who had played for three years with The Outlaws, backing rock'n'roll veterans, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis, came from Episode Six. As Quatermass, these outstanding musicians strove for a distinguished organ-tinged sound, with "swinging rock coupled with striking ballads" (Rocksession). Their first and only LP sold itself through compactness, wealth of ideas, forceful lead vocals and complicated arrangements, enriched by pianist Robinson's tasteful use of classical strings which are on display along with spacious keyboard passages at their height in the mold of The Nice.

Good reviews and premature praise rattled the band's security when, right after the release of the album, the members were showered with offers from other groups. Gustafson then got together with ex-Atomic Rooster members to form Bullet, and later on Hard Stuff. In 1973, he assembled Baltik with Scandinavian guitarist Janne Schaffer and advanced on to backing Roxy Music on tour in '76, until he finally became a permanent member of Ian Gillan Band. Gustafson can also be heard on records by Chi Coltrane, Kevin Ayers, Ian Hunter, Steve Hackett and Bryan Ferry.

Peter Robinson remained equally as busy working on albums by Yvonne Elliman, Murray Head, Rupert Hine and Stealers Wheel. And since 1978 he has been involved with Genesis, Brand X and Phil Collins. Drummer Mick Underwood recorded three LPs with the band Strapps.

By courtesy of "Christian Graf - Rock Musik Lexikon", Taurus Press, Hamburg

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