THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN – Back on Track.
Andy "Thunderclap" Newman –
Piano, Woodwind and vocals
Mark Brzezicki – Drums and vocals (Ex Big Country)
Josh Townshend – Guitar and vocals
Nick Johnson – Guitar
Tony Stubbings – Bass Guitar
In 1969, Pete Townshend of The Who, helped create the band to play songs written by former Who roadie, drummer/singer John 'Speedy' Keen. Townshend produced the single “Something In The Air”, arranged its strings, played its bass under the pseudonym Bijou Drains, recorded it at his house and hired for it eccentric GPO engineer and jazz pianist Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch.
Originally titled "Revolution", but later renamed because the Beatles released a single of that name, "Something in the Air" (released on Track Records) captured post-flower power rebellion, marrying McCulloch's sweeping acoustic and glowing electric guitars, Keen's powerful drumming and yearning falsetto, and Newman's felicitous piano solo.
The single reached No. 1 (hitting the top the week of the moon landing) knocking The Beatles off in the process and remaining there for three weeks. The scale of the song's success surprised everyone, and there were no plans to promote Thunderclap Newman with live performances. Eventually a line-up, augmented by Jim Pitman-Avory on bass and McCulloch's elder brother Jack on drums was formed.
'Something in the Air' has appeared on the soundtracks of the films The Magic Christian (1969), Almost Famous (2000), The Girl Next Door (2004), and The Strawberry Statement (1970) plus many TV advertisements including Vodaphone and British Airways. The single was on the bands only album release 'Hollywood Dream', which was released 40 years ago in 1970.
A chance conversation between the owner of the relaunched Track Records, Ian Grant, and Andy Newman last year, led to rehearsals with a band that drummer Mark Brzezicki (managed by Grant during their time with Big Country) had put together. The rehearsals impressed everyone involved and it was decided it was time to 'test the water' with a couple of live performances which took place in February. They were very successful (quotes and reviews below) and more are being scheduled for later this year. The second of the two gigs was recorded and 7 of the tracks are on 'Beyond Hollywood' the other three being studio cuts. By recording these tracks, the new band have revisisted the 1970 Thunderclap Newman album, 'Hollywood Dream'.
Mark Brzezicki was a founder member of Big Country. He played drums on all Pete Townshend's solo albums and was also a member of Procul Harum for 20 years. His association with the Townshend family is such that he also played in On The Air with Pete's younger brother Simon Townshend (and Tony Butler who was also a member of Big Country) during the early 80's and continues that association with Simon's son Josh Townshend being in the new lineup of Thunderclap Newman.
Andy Newman says “I have to say I am excited by this new project and I have to say it is fascinating with another member of the Townshend dynasty involved”.
"The Lewes show last Friday was... a great one... the line up is terrific - so good to see The Mighty Thunderclap in top form - looking for sure as one of Edward VII 's direct descendants. Andy's percussive work so sharp & original still - guitarist [lead] is stunning - young Josh T. & bass / drums as well - great slow tempo - which is the acid test of music - with all the dynamics & energy boiling inside & pushing out - What was also great was the band 'cooking' together perfectly - you can see they're happy & it washes through the audience like warm waves - I know when it's real from being on stage myself [Temperance Seven ] Thank you again for this really FRESH presentation of our dear friend Speedys' 40 years old
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