OK, I remember I was a kid, I can't remember exactly how old I was, only that the musical, 'THE KING AND I', had just been released. So, I'm 50 now, maybe someone can tell me how old I was then!
My grandmother, who had no musical inclination whatsoever, took me to see the film. I remember to this day, the feeling of… now this is very hard to explain… chord changes, which of course I knew nothing about, though the warmth they gave me. It still gives me a fantastic sense of discovery when I come across what I think is a nice progression.
Anyway after seeing the film, I went home where we had a grand piano and honestly played what sounded to me some fantastic music!! No doubt, it was fucking awful, though I somehow managed to make songs recognisable. And so it began.
I was brought up on 'standards' and any keyboard player must agree that the guys who wrote those songs really were something special. There is NO ONE today who puts a song together like they did in say the 1920's and 30's. One could argue that 'well who would want to' but I would argue 'but who could!!'
I suppose for me, THE BEATLES were the first real 'melodic' band and their longevity says more than I could. They always had great 'middle bits' to all their songs. Ray Fenwick and myself always hold great stead in 'middle bits' and I remember spending hour upon hour with Ray trying to get what we thought were great progressions.
When I first joined Spencer Davis and began writing seriously, a lot of what I stumbled across I didn't even know what it was, only that to my ear it sounded great. I can read music and don't as they say 'play by ear' though error is the mother of invention and on some early SDG tracks there were lot's of 'errors' I don't mean wrong notes, just combinations of notes which were not 'listed', Imagine the task for the guitarists in the band.
Piano teachers and music colleges in those days never gave you a clue about chords, I mean, take a look at any classical sheet music and you never see a chord noted, just a confusing pile of dots which if you take to bits and transfer to chords are on occasion pretty basic. I sometimes play our early tunes on the piano and think, 'how the fuck did I think of that!!'
Naivety and enthusiasm can be a great asset.
I'm asked how did I manage to play Hammond bass pedals two keyboards and sometimes an ARP synth on top of the Hammond plus sing (!!) well it was just necessary!!!
When my father bought me my first Hammond, an M102, I had no bass player and it just seemed natural for my left foot to move, fortunately to the right notes. I developed a habit, which I still have, of moving my left foot in the direction of the bass line of whatever I'm listening to... try it, it becomes quite annoying! Then came the Hammond C3 with the full range of bass pedals, whereas the M102 had only one octave. I didn't find this difficult, I found it fantastic.
With Hardin & York, I had the bass pedals split from the keyboards so that they could be amplified seperately. I used 2 cabinets with 18" speakers and 2 Marshall stacks, this was just for the bass pedals, for the keyboards I progressed at one point to 11 leslies! ANY Hammond player will tell you what this sounds like!! FUCKING AMAZING.
We (Hardin & York) were soon not welcome in small clubs because the vibration from the bass moved all the drinks off the bars and tables. You could 'feel' the bass in your chest. Roger Glover gets this effect. I've always loved his style though he under-rates himself, but on the occasions when he 'jammed' with the SDG he really kicked the whole thing up the arse and moved it along.
Well this was supposed to be an intro, though seems to be turning into a booklet, though suffice it to say that whatever unfolded from that day at the cinema and the 'King And I' is all my grandmother's fault so any complaints should be forwarded to Lambeth cemetery.
EDDIE HARDIN 18/4/99