While at the Fairport Convention gig in the Birmingham Town Hall, I met another of the musicians that have kindly agreed to take part in our charity exhibit, Steve Gibbons. Steve was backstage chatting to Simon Nichol, and I was able to introduce myself. It’s really great to meet people that have made music you know. It’s an adventure too, wondering if your image of them from hearing their music will be what greets you. Steve was very nice and helpful as well, offering his advice on a benefit show we are planning to stage during the exhibit. I’m arranging to do a filmed interview with him which I am sure will be really interesting as Steve’s career has spanned a number of decades.
Growing up in the USA, I was made aware of Steve by a friend of mine who knew The Steve Gibbons Band primarily as the opening act for bands like The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The J Geils Band; and for the albums, ‘Any Road Up’ and ‘Rollin’ On.’ But there’s lots more to know about Steve’s career than just those things.
Steve was born in Harborne, Birmingham, and reportedly was all set to become a plumber. Instead, he joined a group called The Dominettes in 1960 and began playing in the pubs and clubs around Birmingham. The group changed its name to The Uglys, and recorded a single called ‘Wake Up My Mind.’ This song was unlike most of the songs of the period with lyrics like:
Somewhere there’s hunger, somewhere there’s war
But I can do nothing so I’ll just ignore
The cruelty around me, pretending I’m blind
In case I start thinking and Wake Up My Mind.
And the days break and the nights fall and drift into time
I read in the papers, a policeman shot down
Two negros in cold blood in some racial town
And I’m having a new car but I don’t know what kind
But one of these days I will Wake Up My Mind.
Quite heavy-duty for the mid 60s. The next band Steve became a member of was Balls, along with Trevor Burton, Denny Laine, and drummer Keith Smart. Steve left the band after a short period, and moved to Idle Race, which eventually became The Steve Gibbons Band. Spotted by the manager of The Who, this is what led to Steve recording his album ‘Any Road Up,’ and to his work touring with the The Who and other bands.
Steve has recorded nine albums, and still tours with his band. He also plays in the Brum Rocks Live shows along with Trevor Burton and Bev Bevan, two other artists who are taking part in our Midlands exhibit. Be sure to check out the music of this inspiring Midlands artist! His gigs are listed on his website here: