In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Friday, May 17, 2024

Caliban - Insane Mentality (1973 uk, rough fuzzy hard rock, 2021 release)

Based in Ormskirk in Lancashire UK and formed in 1970 by guitarist Keith Hubbard and vocalist Roy Smith from the remnants of their old 60's band The Rebels, Caliban included, together with Roy and Keith, ex-Rebels drummer Chris Kenny and new found acquaintance, bass guitarist Ray Chapman.

The Rebels were formed by Keith, Roy and Chris in 1963, initially called The Nightriders they the acquired a lead vocalist Ian Gregson and changed their name to Ian & The Rebels, often re-named in other smart arsed band members graffiti scribble on dressing room walls Pian & the TeRebels, (they were probably right but never mind). When then singer Ian Gregson left the band, they became The Rebels. They were joined by Bootle singer Ricky Gleason, ex of The Topspots, and played The Cavern on many occasions and after Chris's illness saw him leave the band, The Rebels added ex St. Louis Checks drummer, Roy David, to their line up. The Rebels went their separate ways during 1967.

During late 1969 Roy and Keith approached Ray Chapman and drummer Chris Kenny, now recovered from the serious illness which forced him to retire from The Rebels, to discuss the possibility of putting a new band together, the basis of Caliban was formed. In early 1970 Roy and Keith auditioning in Manchester for the love rock musical HAIR. By luck more than management Keith secured a part in the show, soon to be touring all the major theatres in the UK. Keith had to move to London and do his initial work at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Keith's relocation and part in HAIR was initially seen to be a problem for the new band, but after a little thought and discussion it was decided that Keith's part in the musical could be used as a good marketing ploy for the band and while giving time for extended preparation, would allow the band immediate credibility when making their debut, it was decided that Keith would maintain constant contact, returning to Ormskirk each weekend to enable the band to rehearse. The only problem now was what to call the band, Ray, after a little thought, came to conclusion that the musical road that the band was taking was quite aggressive, heavy and in some ways downright nasty, being of a scholarly background and quite learned he came up with the name of the evil monster and maker of dastardly deeds from William Shakespeare's The Tempest namely; Caliban, perfect, the seeds where sown. Fifteen months later after an extremely successful first British national tour with HAIR, including two extensive seasons at Liverpool's Empire theatre, Keith left the musical and with Abendsterne Promotions of Hanover Street in Liverpool acting as the band's agent, Caliban were ready to hit the road.

The first gig was at the Ba' Ba' Lou Club in Seel Street Liverpool, the band received a good reception. A little later Caliban played the Knightsbridge Club situated in Liverpool's Duke Street, this was not as auspicious an occasion, the band where constantly told they were too loud and just about got through the night. There then followed a three week tour of Denmark, this really got the band together. On their return it was back to the Knightsbridge, the management after the night of the first appearance wanted to cancel the band as they were of the opinion that Caliban was not suitable for the club, but owner Paul Orr, who had been away on holiday was assured by Frank Delaney at Abendsterne Promotions that they were worth another look, the band had a great night, even if Mr Orr, standing at the back of the stage, did beat the s... out of drummer Chris's head with one of his drumsticks for being too loud. The band later found out from other bands that this was one of Paul Orr's favourite tricks, he would also arrive on stage at the end of the evening informing the club patrons to go home quietly, quote...we've got your money now p... your talking while your walking'...Ladies and Gentlemen, Goodnight!. Caliban became firm favourites at the Knightsbridge Club, they joined regular bands, Col. Bagshot's and Pepperbox, as ever present visitors to the club.

Throughout the following year Caliban established a following, appearing at many of Liverpool's favourite haunts including the Knightsbridge, the Ba' Ba' Lou, Dino's (later Gulliver's), The Victoriana, The Timepiece, The Mardi Gras, The Tavern Club New Brighton, as well as local comprehensive school and college functions. Caliban played extensively throughout the UK, taking gigs at university's, clubs, major pub rock venues, and festivals, including the Windsor Festival and a number of appearances at the famous Greyhound Pub in London, they also made further excursions into Europe.

In November 1972 while performing for the Old Swan Technical College's get-together at Liverpool's Top Rank Ballroom, the band were approached by then manageress of the Cavern Club, Freda Mullins, with a view to playing at the club. A date was set and Caliban made their first appearance on 19th January 1973. Five further appearances ensued before the final performance when, being included by owner Roy Adams as replacement for New York band The Yardleys, who, due to visa difficulties, were not able to travel, Caliban appeared on the bill for the final night at the Cavern Club, the date was, Thursday 27th May 1973. The famous old club closed its doors forever at 6am Friday 28th May 1973. The bill for the final night was Merseyside bands; Strife, Wardog, Bilf Slat, Harpoon (later to become Nutz) Caliban, Supercharge and guest band from London, Hackensack. The all-night session was recorded on the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio by London Music Management, they offered Caliban a management contract but, probably due to a little naivety on the bands part and negotiations broke down, never to be re-opened.

A little later with The Cavern now closed, Roy Adams offered Caliban a spot on the opening night of the New Cavern which was to be situated in what was once The Fruit Exchange immediately across the road from the old club, the date set for the opening was 16th AUGUST 1973, Caliban would be support to Roy Wood's Wizzard. Over the following year Caliban made numerous appearances at the New Cavern including being supported by now top rock act, Judas Priest. The New Cavern under new ownership later changed its name to Brady's then to Eric's, where-from, a new breed of Merseyside talent hit the UK.

On June 23rd 1974, drummer Chris Kenny played his final gig with the band. His illness had returned and he could no longer stand the rigours of life on the road. With replacement John McCauley in place, Caliban continued to tour but although John was a top drummer and while the band were still successful, things were never the same and, after a final summer 1975 gig at Warwick University, Caliban, supported by St Helens rock band Gravy Train and the then unknown Cockney Rebel, went their separate ways.
CD Liner notes

1. Hard Bitten Woman (Keith Hubbard) - 3:40
2. Heritage (Ray Chapman) - 4:07
3. God Damn My Soul (Keith Hubbard) - 4:25
4. Its All Been Said Before - 2:38
5. Solo Flight - 4:54
6. Little Queenie (Chuck Berry) - 3:28
7. Freedom - 2:40
Chris Kenny, Keith Hubbard, Ray Chapman, Roy Smith

*Chris Kenny - Drums, Lead Vocals
*Keith Hubbard - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Ray Chapman - Vocals, Bass
*Roy Smith - Lead Vocals, Guitar