|The Early Days
The group formed in 1966 in Coventry, England
and quickly became one of the top local club bands. The original line up
consisted of Des Dyer (Lead Vocals and Drums), Clive Scott (Keyboards and
Vocals), Barrie Bernard (Bass guitar), Tony Campbell (Guitar), Tony Britnell
(Saxophone) and Kevin "Beppy" Mahon (Saxophone). Scott was previously in
“Scott and The Antarctics”, Dyer had played in both “The Surfsiders” and
“Clockwork Shoppe”, Campbell and Mahon had worked together previously in
“The Mighty Avengers”, Bernard had been a member of “Pinkertons Assort.
Colours”, while Britnel had worked with “The Fortunes”.
Jigsaw were, in fact, a British group who
came from Coventry (near Birmingham for overseas readers). Virtually all
of their material was written by drummer Des Dyer and keyboard player Clive
Scott. Tony Campbell, ex of fellow Coventry group The Mighty Avengers was
lead guitarist. Tony Britnell played sax and Barry Bernard played bass
- he'd been in Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. The first recorded for MGM
(UK) and Philips in the late sixties, then had some releases on the short-lived
BASF label before scoring with "Sky High" on their manager (and publisher)
Chas peate's Splash label here in the UK. All of the group's recordings
are now owned by Splash. In America they had releases on Chelsea, 20th
century and Elektra. They were hugely popular on the club and college circuit
here, but with the exception of "Sky High" never made the charts. Dyer
and Scott moved into production which is where Candlewick Green/The heywoods
come in. Tarragon Records has issued a US Best Of, but I've tried on several
occasions to get a UK company to do the same without success. Much underrated
Freakbeat / Pop
Line up: Clive Scott (organ, vocal), Kevin
Mahon (tenor), Tony Britnel (tenor, vocal), Tony Campbell (guitar),
Barry Bernard (bass), Des Dyer (drums).
Formed in April 1966 by ex members of The
Mighty Avengers (Campbell / Mahon), Pinkertons Assorted Colours (Bernard),
The Fortunes (Britnel) and The Transatlantics (Scott).
Main strengths were Scott/Dyer's songwriting
talents (they'd previously placed songs with Engelbert Humperdink, as well
as The Mighty Avengers).
Although formed in 1966, their debut disc
wasn't until 1968.Their second single release was written by Alan Bown,
who's own band Alan Bown Set, were label mates on MGM's Music Factory subsidiary.
They recorded a number of good Pop/Psych/Progressive singles and albums
before a 1975 UK Top Ten, with the unashamedly pop 'Sky High'
See below for more from Des Dyer.
A:One Way Street/ B:Then I Found You (MGM
A:Mr. Job/ B:Great Idea (Music Factory CUB4
A:Let Me Go Home/ B:Tumblin' (Music Factory
A:One Way Street/ B:Coffucious Confusion
(Philips 6006112 1970)
A:Lolipop & Goody Man/ B:Seven Fishes
(Fontana 600 7071 1970)
Keeping My Head Above Water ..........
(A) Philips 600 6131 1971
Hanging Around ....................... (B)
Philips 600 6131 1971
(Sleeve has been damaged - Donation by
A:Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring/ B:? (Philips
600 6182 1971)
Leatherslade Farm (Philips 630 9033 1970)
Aurora Borealis (Philips 630 8072 1971)
Broken Hearted (BASF BAG22291075 1973)
I've Seen The Film (BASF BAP5051 1974)
We asked Des "What bands were you in prior
to Jigsaw ?"
A. "I was in one band previous to Jigsaw
with two names. In 1962/3 I started a band with my cousin Dave Hagan, we
are the same age and we grew up living next door to each other. We always
sang together, and would raid my older brother's record collection to listen
to and learn new stuff . We could naturally harmonise together without
even thinking about it. Dave played the euphonium at school and we would
go out at Christmas time carol singing, me singing and Dave playing his
euphonium. It was a nice sound but we never made a fortune! My brother
bought loads of American records and we learned songs by the Platters,
the Diamonds, mostly vocal harmony groups, but there was a favourite of
ours entitled "Black Leather Trosers and Motorcycle Boots" by a band called
"The Cheers", we loved it! We particularly liked the Everley Brothers,
Jan & Dean, and the Beach Boys so we thought we'd think of a name relating
to the surfing scene, so we called ourselves the "Surf Cyders", pretty
ironic as we were slap bang in the middle of the UK about as far from the
sea as you can get! We decided to mis-spell the "Siders" part of the name
as "Cyders" because at the time we were getting the taste for cyder by
telling the landlord at the off licence part of the local pub we were buying
it for our parents. We were of course under age at the time. We thought
spelling cyder this way was a really cheeky idea, as there was a reference
to alcohol in the band's name, and nobody twigged it! The third member
of the band was a guitarist called Paul Gunton who Dave knew from his school.
He was a year older than us and more streetwise than we were, plus he had
tattoos up and down his arms. He liked to play folk music, but we soon
persuaded him otherwise and we were soon all singing to his guitar playing.
At this stage we hadn't really worked out who was going to play what in
the band, but we were so into music we knew we were going to do something.
My brother owned an acoustic guitar which he'd tried unsuccessfully to
play, so I did a deal with him and swapped my transistor radio for his
guitar. I was soon strumming away as I practised incessantly, driving my
parents potty. Dave also started to learn guitar so that meant we had three
guitarists in the band. This was not very practical so we made a decision
that Dave should play bass, Paul would play guitar, as he was the best
guitar player, and I would play drums. My dad had played drums in the local
skiffle band at the Long Lawford legion and I think it was in my genes
because I picked it up quite quickly. I had to save money from my paper
round to buy some drums. The trouble was I had to buy them piece by piece
as I couldn't afford a whole kit. Another friend of Dave's called Russel
became our "manager" and he entered us in the "Beat Contest" at the Granada
cinema in Rugby. We were horrified as we had only been playing together
a few weeks and had only done one gig at the local legion club, and another
at the bus man's club at Coventry, plus I'd only managed to buy half a
drum kit, so I hadn't even got a bass drum. But Russel was adamant that
we should enter, so we did. We decided to play "Walking the Dog" and as
a gimmick Paul managed to pursuade his girlfriend to walk across the stage
wearing a flimsy top and a short skirt, walking her pet alsatian dog. On
the night I was very nervous, as we were competing with the local established
bands that were a lot older than us, and as a result one of my sticks flew
out of my sweaty palms straight up into the air, and as luck would have
it , it came straight back down again and I caught it. Everybody must have
thought that this was all part of the act, as the place went ballistic.
The judges on the night included members of "The Mighty Avengers", this
was later to prove very significant in my future career, "The Mighty Avengers"
were Rugby's top group who had released singles, some written by the Rolling
Stones Jagger and Richards, and were considered to be gods. Well would
you believe it ? WE WON. From that moment everything changed. We were suddenly
local celebrities. I remember getting off the bus near my school on the
Monday morning after the contest on the Sunday, and walking past the girl's
school, I was on my own 'cos I was late for school again, and I heard these
girls screaming. I looked across and saw all these girls hanging out of
the windows and shouting and screaming at me. Then a whole line of them
burst out of a door and ran towards me. I panicked and ran like hell to
the safety of the boy's school. I sat down, out of breathe and thought
how fantastic this was, I had gone from a kid who nobody noticed to an
icon that girls were screaming at. From then on I was definitely hooked
on the music business! I received a message, well it was more of a summons
really, that Adrienne Cox, known as Ada, from the girl's school next door
wanted to see me. She was the most beautiful girl at the school and we
started going out together, this was just getting better and better. Russel
was really working overtime now, and he manged to get us a regular gig
at the Maple Ballroom in Northampton, where we were the support act to
some of the top line groups of the time. We played with the Hollies, the
Searchers, the Kinks, and Freddy and the Dreamers.
The band gradually went off the surfing sound
and played more R&B stuff, and as mine and Dave's tastes changed towards
that direction, Paul decided that he wanted to get back to playing folk
music, so he split from the band. As luck would have it Adrienne's cousin,
Phil Clough was a guitarist, and we asked him to join us. We were getting
quite a good reputation and were starting doing more prestigious gigs.
In 1966 the singer from the Mighty Avengers
decided to pack it all in and the remaining members of the band carried
on under the name "Jigsaw" and conscripted various musicians from other
bands in the area to complete the line up. Tony Campbell, who was basically
the leader of the band, asked Clive Scott, of "Scott and the Antarctics"
(What a name!), to join, and then he persuaded Tony Britnel, ex "Fortunes"
sax player to join. They soon gained a terrific reputation and were regarded
as the best band in the area. I saw them and thought they were fantastic.
Then one night Tony Campbell knocked at my door, and said that Biffo Beach,
the drummer was leaving and would I like to join. Well I was flabbergasted,
the best band in the area was asking me to join? It was a difficult decision
to make, but after many heart searching walks on my own and soul searching
conversations with Adrienne I decided to leave my own band and join "Jigsaw."
That was my pre - Jigsaw story.