I just caught a new post by Julian Hall on Youtube. He was interviewing Jerry Pike the man who co-produced Level 42’s first album – “The Early Tapes.” A school friend slipped me the album around 1980 and it changed my life.
I put it on and my mind was instantly blown. It had a profound affect on me – cosmic, like nothing I heard before. Before then I listened to whatever my brothers but suddenly this pre-teen found his voice. I quickly borrowed everything they released (which wasn’t much at the time as they only just formed); so in the absense of material I started following the artists that influenced them, Mahavishnu, Miles, Stevie. I got sucked into the world of Funk Soul and Jazz. I became an addict tuning into pirate stations, going to soul meets off the CB radio, anything to get my latest fix. Still it was not enough so when Kal, a fellow funkster, suggest we start our own band I said yes. I played guitar and he bass. We rehearsed in a back room at a youth club in Tottenham hooked up with a singer and keyboardist my brother was teaching to drive and a drummer Kal knew from Uni. That was the start of a beautiful time of discovery and creation as we clawed our way up the gig ladder graduating from pubs to stadiums.