Atomic Rooster - Biography

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biog.gif (1433 bytes) •  The history of the band •



Early days and "Fire" and Atomic Ro-o-oster

Born in Reading on 21/5/43, Vincent's formal Music Training was at Trinity College of Music, London . He studied there for three years and gained his LTCL and GTCL. His early bands were J.C. & THE MACHINE (with Phil Kinnora, Ray Dussel, John McVee and Bob Downes) and the jazz and poetry group THE WORD ENGINE (founded by Paul A. Green, with Red Reece, Phil Seaman, Pete Brown, John Surman and Bob Downes. His first professional gig was at the Marquee Club, London, in 1963 as the VINCENT CRANE BAND.

In 1966, he joined up with Arthur Brown and formed THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN and by 1967 they were playing gigs such as the UFO Club, Tottenham Court Road; the Alexandra Palace 'Love In'; the Reading Festival and the Montrose Festival. During 1968 they were out on their 1st American Tour and the "Fire" single and "Fire" album topped the USA charts. The single was No.1 in England & Europe, and the album Top 5 . The band headlined at that year's Reading Festival. In 1969 they returned to America playing Fillmore East and Madison Square Garden. By the end of the year and after a 3rd USA tour problems had set in. Vincent lived in New York for three months and finally returned to England with Carl Palmer on Friday the 13th. During 1970 they formed ATOMIC ROOSTER as decided in New York, and the band's first gig was headlining at the Lyceum, London, with DEEP PURPLE as support. The 1st ATOMIC ROOSTER single was "Friday the 13th", c/w "Banstead" and the 1st Album "Atomic Ro-o-oster".

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Rooster2.jpg (24361 bytes)In 1971 John DuCann joined ATOMIC ROOSTER and added guitar to the American version of "Atomic Ro-O-oster". Carl Palmer left to join ELP and Paul Hammond joined ROOSTER as drummer. This year saw the band's 1st hit single "Tomorrow Night",/c/w "Play the Game" and their 1st Top 10 album "Death Walks Behind You", followed by a 2nd hit single "Devil's Answer",c/w "Play the Game". The band also played the Reading Festival.(During this year, Vincent also guested on piano for the Self Titled "Rory Gallagher" album released on Polydor.)

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Farlowe.jpg (22773 bytes)In 1972 Pete French joined the band on vocals and they played the Oval with the WHO headlining. A 3rd album was released, "In Hearing of.." with cover design by Roger Dean. This was the year of ATOMIC ROOSTER'S 1st USA tour, playing the Troubadour, LA and Fillmore East, NY. John DuCann and Paul Hammond left the band to form HARD STUFF with Johnny Gustaveston and Ric Parnell & Steve Bolton joined. Pete French left to join CACTUS with Carl Minnaplice, replaced in ROOSTER by Chris Farlowe .The band then went on to release their 4th album "Made in England" and the 1st Compilation was released, "Atomic Rooster Assortment". The 2nd tour took in the LA Amphitheatre, the Texas 'Rose Bowl' and the Dusseldorf 'Rock Festival' with DEEP PURPLE and FREE. A 3rd single was released "Stand by Me, c/w "Breathless". In 1974 the 5th ATOMIC ROOSTER album was released "Nice & Greasy" and a 2nd Compilation "Home to Roost". The band left Gaff Management and toured Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland & Portugal. In 1975 after a tour of Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, Vincent stopped touring and took ATOMIC ROOSTER of the road for an unspecified period......

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The Missing Years

Roadshow.jpg (16095 bytes)Vincent divorced his first wife, Pat, in 1976 and remarried in 1977. With ATOMIC ROOSTER off the road, Vincent's talents diversified. He did the music for Paul A Green's "Ritual of the Stifling Air" for Radio 3. Influenced by his second wife, Jean, he worked on "Dracula" at the Shaftesbury Theatre, the Ghost Train" at the old Vic, the "Old Country at the Queen's, "Stevie" at the Vaudeville, Rolls Hyphen Royce" at the Shaftesbury Theatre. He was Musical Advisor to the Royal Court's Children's Theatre Festival, and Vocal Coach for a South London Children's Festival. He was Musical Director for "Rain Dog" STOMU YAMASHTA'S RED BUDDHA THEATRE COMPANY and renewed the jazz/poetry gigs with Paul A Green.

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Bowties.jpg (18513 bytes)In 1978, Vincent met up with Arthur Brown again and they began writing together and performing. By 1979, they had material together for a new album "Faster than the Speed of Light" which was recorded in Germany at Klaus Schult's Studio. He also recorded with Klaus on the "Dune" album and with Arthur and Klaus on "Wahnfried". A classic moment of that time was a party thrown by the German Record Company when Vincent and Arthur performed a classic rendition of Frankie Vaughan's "Green Door", dressed in top hat and tails!!

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Together again and then not...

Reform.jpg (19527 bytes)1980 saw the reform of ATOMIC ROOSTER and Vincent working again with John DuCann. Finally an EMI deal, a secret warm up tour, and the release of a new album "Atomic Rooster" and a single "Do You Know Who's Looking for You" Preston Heyman did the honours on drums, but by the time of the 1981 3 month tour of the UK, Paul Hammond was back on drums. This year, saw the release of the 1st two Atomic Rooster 12" singles, "Play it Again" c/w "Start to Live"/"Devil's Answer" (live) and "End of the Day" c/w "Living Underground"/"Tomorrow Night" (live) The band played the Reading Festival with John mysteriously AWOL, Big John McCoy stepped in on bass. John had decided to retire again, and subsequent tours of Germany and Italy were with Bernie Torme on guitar.

1983 saw a new style of ATOMIC ROOSTER album "Headline News" with a 12" single "Land of Freedom" (extended version c/w Carnival), featuring guitarists, Dave Gilmour of the PINK FLOYD,Bernie Torme and John Mizarolli. Bernie subsequently toured with the band to Germany and Italy and an album of their live gigs has just been released. March 6th 2000, Atomic Rooster "Live in Germany '83"

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Final Days

studioDMR.jpg (14342 bytes)In 1984, Vincent disbanded Atomic Rooster and went on to make "A Case for the Blues" as KATMANDU with Peter Green, Ray Dorset & Jeff Whittaker.The following year he joined "Dexy's Midnight Runners" playing piano for the "Don't Stand me Down" album. They toured in the UK and France, releasing two singles "This is What she's Like" from the album and a second single, the theme song to the TV series "Brush Strokes".

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Tomb.jpg (10087 bytes)In 1987 DEXY'S was disbanded and Vincent intended to reform ATOMIC ROOSTER.

Due to ill health, a planned German tour was cancelled, and, sadly, Vincent died on 14th February 1989, Saint Valentine's Day.

Since that time, Paul Hammond too has died.

Of the "Death Walks Behind You" line-up of ATOMIC ROOSTER, only John DuCann remains.


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