From 1970 to 1975.

The change of record label in 1970 brought with it a very welcome change of atmosphere. Andrew Lauder who was at that time United Artists head of Artists and Repertoire was assembling a formidable array of talent. From being an act whose record company didn't know what to do with them, they suddenly found themselves at the centre of a growing family of British and European rock bands, each working in their own way to expand the boundaries of the genre.

Barry Marshall though was still having great difficulty finding a viable touring schedule for them in the UK. 1970 and 1971 were very lean years for the group in terms of British exposure. Two weeks in October 1970 were spent recording their first UA album 'Man' and then it was straight back to Germany to continue working the European circuit. Deke Leonard explains; "We had totally given up on Britain. The occasional gig we did there was poorly attended and never covered by the press. Our gig circuit was comprised entirely of Cook's Ferry Inn, where our average audience was about fifteen in number. In Schorndorf it was 2,000." The release of the album told a similar story, ignored in Britain, but adored in Germany.

1970 lineup
1970 band (L-R Deke, Martin, Clive, Terry, Micky)

There were other opportunities which were not immediately apparent at the time. As Martin relates, "In 1970 MAN played with David Bowie at The University of Wales, Lampeter. David's band was him on a twelve string, Tony Visconti on bass and a conga drummer called Lucky. It was a great night and a couple of weeks later we received a letter from David at our flat in Tierney Rd., asking us if we would like to be his new band. We turned down his offer because we were recording a new album ourselves and we had our own fish to fry. Shortly after David brought out Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. Ho hum."

Fortunes began to change after a show-stealing performance during the March 1971 London Week festival in Berlin. Held in the enormous Deutschlandhalle, the audience of 6,000 was dwarfed by the auditorium but captivated by the band. The other acts on the bill were the better known groups Soft Machine, Family and Yes who all flew in for the performance, but Man won the day playing some great music and exploiting in particular Martin Ace's uncanny ability to entertain a crowd. A few days earlier Terry Williams had broken his big toe playing football. Nektar's drummer Ron Howden had substituted for Terry at a gig in Darmstadt two days previously and although by Berlin Terry was back on the stool he was still limping heavily. Martin explained the situation to the crowd, interpreting 'big toe' as 'thumb of the foot', Deke said that by the end of the speech he had them in the palm of his hand. A blistering 45 minute set consisting of 'Spunk Rock', 'Many Are Called But Few Get Up', 'Romain', 'It Is As It Must Be' and 'The Storm' followed, and they tore the place apart. Amongst the onlookers were two influential figures, Roy Hollingworth - a journalist with the popular music magazine Melody Maker, and their staff photographer Barry Wentzel. At last the press were beginning to take an interest, and Martin's often quoted observation; "Our biggest publicity thing is that we never get any" started to look a little wide of the mark.

Summer 1971 saw the band undertake a five day tour of Switzerland with stablemates Gypsy, and Help Yourself. Man and Help Yourself. The 'All Good Clean Fun' tour was an attempt by United Artists to break into the Swiss market. Whilst it wasn't spectacularly successful in itself, the tour did create a friendship between Man and Help Yourself that would last throughout the next several years and involve much personnel swapping.

1971 5-piece lineup
1971 lineup (L-R Martin, Terry, Micky, Deke, Clive)

A break in the exhaustive German touring schedule allowed Man time to get back to Britain to record their second UA album 'Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In Alright?' and then it was back to Germany again. Once the record was released in November the gig sheet took a surprising turn. Extensive dates in Europe, peppered with occasional dates in the UK, were suddenly reversed in December 1971, when at last the entire month was spent in Britain. Although the group had still to regularly travel country-wide, (the December dates for example covered only London and the home counties, Coventry and two dates in South Wales) it was the start of major UK exposure for them, and the beginnings of cult stardom. The Manband had been promoted to league division two and were on their way up. So inevitably Clive John decided to leave.

For the last six months or so Clive had become increasingly peripheral to the band. In live performances he would spend large chunks of time socialising with the audience, and his creative input was also becoming limited. It seemed that Clive's attentions were being focused elsewhere, and it was no real surprise when he announced his decision.

In a later interview with TWC he explained; "I was getting steadily bored with turning up in towns where there'd be great friends, and not having enough time to spend with them; in for a minute and then away. Basically I was tired and bored." While away from the group he forged an alliance with ex-Eyes Of Blue and Piblokto keyboard player Phil Ryan, and ex-Quicksand bassist Michael 'Will' Youatt intending to put together a band called Iorwerth Pritchard and The Neutrons, a name coined by roadie and raconteur Vivyan 'Spiv' Morris. Although the group never materialised as they had originally intended, the musical partnerships would soon play a much greater role in the development of the Manband than anyone could have expected.

1971 4-piece lineup
1971 four piece (L-R Deke, Terry, Martin, Micky)

In the meantime, the Manband carried on as a four piece, gigging extensively around the London area and including occasional dates as far afield as Glasgow, Newcastle, Bridlington and Brighton. The big step up though was that instead of hitting the pubs and clubs circuit the group were now appearing at universities, colleges, civic theatres and city halls. The audience was growing and press attention was also growing thanks largely to the efforts of Roy Hollingworth and Barry Wentzel who were recommending them at every opportunity. Although no studio albums were recorded as a four piece the group were captured in this guise on two limited edition live albums, 'Greasy Truckers Party' and 'Live At The Padget Rooms' both of which showed that they had no intentions of slowing down.

The situation didn't last long. Micky and Terry had kept in touch with the developing Neutrons, and had found some common cause in the different musical direction that Phil Ryan and Will Youatt were working on. In a TWC interview Will Youatt recalls; "One day someone mentioned that the Manband were home in Swansea, so we went up to Hanover Street where Terry and Martin lived. We walked in and Martin was sitting there with about ten stitches in his hand, and Terry had a load of stitches in his head. They'd been beaten up in a local jazz club a couple of nights before. Martin couldn't play, and Terry had these terrible headaches because someone had hit him over the head with a bottle! Anyhow, all the gear was set up in the house so me, Phil, Deke and Micky all had a blow. Phil started on the electric piano, I followed on bass and we were off! I tell you was twenty minutes of the most was rocking. Micky, who's very shrewd and can see a good thing when it happens probably thought, hello..."

1972 lineup
1972 band (L-R Micky, Will, Clive, Terry, Phil)

When Martin Ace announced his intention to leave Man, and to spend time with his wife George in a new group called the Flying Aces, it was time for a more radical change. The new line up would be Micky Jones (guitar, vocals), Will Youatt (bass, vocals), Clive John (guitar, vocals), Terry Williams (drums, vocals), and Phil Ryan (keyboards, vocals). Terry announced the news to Deke Leonard who was of course the last to know. "This was the moment of truth," he remembers, "If I couldn't find another gig I might have to get a proper job. I shuddered." Andrew Lauder provided the safety net in the form of a solo deal for Leonard which eventually resulted in three albums and an extensive tour schedule. On his return to Swansea Deke found his marriage to Fran was all over bar the shouting. He decamped to Durham Road, East Finchley in London, where he became an honorary member of Help Yourself, deputising for the ailing Malcolm Morley who was undergoing one of his periodic bouts of depression.

Will and Clive
will and clive

Manager Barry Marshall was taken aback by news of the split, and Man headed back to Germany after a few days of rehearsals in Rossilli, to see how their biggest audiences would react. Barry's fears were unfounded, the old lineup had been good, but the new one was also good and the German fans loved them. The introduction of Ryan and Youatt brought what Will described as a "more magical, lighter feel" to Man. The new songs were classics and the album that this lineup produced, the eccentrically titled 'Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day' remains a highpoint of the group's career. Then once again Clive John pulled the plug and left the group, and this time he would not return. Man carried on for three months as a four piece before recruiting the 19 year old Alan 'Tweke' Lewis on guitar to replace him during the recording of their next album 'Back Into the Future'.

Tweke was a fan long before he became the guitar player and in 1991 had fond memories of his brief part in the story; "...they were called upon by the audiences who expected to be taken further and further by this musical machine all the time. You must remember that while a lot of Man music was marijuana induced there were many people who weren't under the influence listening to it and who didn't understand what was happening. Whereas if you were stoned out of your mind and you got into the same groove as them you just couldn't believe where they were going."

1973 Rainbow Ticket
10th October 1973 Rainbow Ticket Stub

The new album was promoted aggressively on an extensive nationwide tour. Long time fan Stephe Barstow remembers one day with special affection; "I first met the band on 19th October 1973 during the Up For The Day tour at the Exeter University gig. The line-up for the night was Man, Iceberg, Vivyan Morris and John St. Field (now known as Jackie Leven - not a few Man Fans eventually got into Jackie as a result of that tour). Anyway, a mate of mine was up from Plymouth and we went up to the venue in the afternoon to discover a truck being unloaded. One of the roadies called over to us and asked if we wanted to help out in return for free tickets..not a moment's hesitation, I can tell you."

"When we had finished unloading the truck, they had to wait for the second truck to arrive (it was a big operation in those days). The roadies started jamming on stage - one playing guitar, two drummers and keyboards. It wasn't bad - Jeff and Foster are two of the names that spring to mind. One of the roadies used to play in Quicksand (one of Will Youatt's old bands). After unloading the second lorry, we were put to sorting out the lights - when Man came on later we discovered that we had messed it up. We went down to the dressing room for a few drinks until the bands arrived. there were 12 stoned Welshmen and a Scot in the same room with Viv Morris prancing around with his false penis - I have no idea what the conversation was about."

1973 lineup
1973 (L-R Micky, Terry, Tweke, Will, Phil)

"John St. Field opened with a short set, followed by Morris reciting the 'little left handed methodist missionary' monologue. Viv then did a couple of numbers backed by Martin, Phil, Tweke and Dave Charles. Martin and Dave stayed on to play with Iceberg, who put in a great set. Viv then came back on again to introduce a replacement band - Man couldn't make it, so Man were playing instead, he jested. I noted that Man played for about 2 hours. Then Viv reappears and informs the crowd that there will be a short break while Iceberg join Man on stage for a jam. An amazing version of Spunk Rock with all 12 of them on stage (possibly with a roadie or two as well) lasting 30 minutes or so. The rest of my time at University was an anti-climax."

So what did a "big operation" entail? Two Ford D300 trucks carried the gear around the country on that tour, with a Mercedes 35-seater bus providing the transport for the band. The road crew consisted of Phillip Foster (personnel manager!), Jeff Hooper (sound mixer), Carl Evans (lighting engineer) and Tam Smith (stage manager). The PA was a 2000 Watt JBL based system hired from Ground Control, featuring a 24 channel Alice stereo mixing desk and Crown power amps. Speakers were a mix of 15" and 10" units with Electrovoice horns and tweeters. Mikes were supplied by KG and Electrovoice. The PA was under the watchful eyes of Mick Hince, Robin Mayhew and Willie Palino.

Despite having so much creative and musical talent available the internal relationships were often strained. There were compromises as Phil and Will suppressed their jazz/rock leanings in order to maintain some continuity. Micky Jones had privately confessed to Deke Leonard prior to the tour that he was; "fed up of being the guitar player in the Phil Ryan Band." Manager Barry Marshall was conscious of a growing critical awareness and the accompanying financial success, things were starting to happen for the band, but he was also acutely aware of the barely suppressed hostility that was beginning to tear things apart. His reaction was to keep the band busy with a hectic gig list, and seemed afraid that if he gave them a day off the group would split. 24 dates in October ranged from Glasgow to Hastings and Liverpool to Hull. There was no time to write, no time to experiment, and no time to relax. Tensions grew throughout the tour and when it came to an end as the Christmas break approached the group promptly exploded. A band meeting which had been called to clear the air, failed to do so. Deke related the events in his 1996 book 'Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics'; "Barry and Andrew came down from London and the meeting was convened. Phil was the first to speak. 'Me and Will are leaving the band to form the Neutrons,' he said, and stormed out. End of meeting. End of band.'I was flabbergasted', says Will. 'I never had a say. Tweke didn't have a say. Terry didn't know what was happening and Micky had already selected the next Manband; you know, deviously and quietly. So suddenly I was a Neutron'."

1974 5-piece lineup
1974 (L-R Deke, Terry, Malcolm, Micky, Ken)

Before long the dust had settled, leaving Micky and Terry to reform under the Manband banner with Deke, Ken Whaley on bass and Malcolm Morley on keyboards and guitar. Both the newcomers had been working closely with Leonard in Help Yourself and in Iceberg . It was in practice difficult to work out just exactly which band had joined forces with which. The first album by the new line up was called 'Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics', written and recorded in February 1974 alongside a brief UK tour. Then in March the group made the first of their trips to the USA, supporting Hawkwind on the '1999 Party' tour, or - as Deke remembers it - the 'Space 1999' tour. The five week long tour was given only limited support by the American arm of United Artists but it was nevertheless a fairly sizable affair. Highlights included a benefit concert at the University of California Berkeley for Timothy Leary who was then in jail. A secret phone line had been rigged to Leary's cell, and when he called the conversation was played over the P.A. The Chicago date was captured and released on the since legitimised bootleg 'The 1999 Party Tour'. In Atlanta Deke Leonard got a chance to see some of his heroes in Quicksilver Messenger Service, but was disappointed to discover that guitarist John Cipollina wasn't playing with them at that point. In Nashville, the band checked into a Holiday Inn overlooking the Rock Island Line marshalling yards and survived a tornado which wrecked the hotel.

1974 Rhinos Tour programme
1974 Rhinos Tour programme (front) 1974 Rhinos Tour programme (back)

As the tour ended Malcolm Morley headed back to the UK while the rest of the band took a couple of days off sightseeing in New York. There were concerns that Malcolm was unhappy and was thinking of leaving. He wasn't. The successes of the American tour were rewarded by five days in Switzerland with the families along for the ride. Malcolm remembers the first song of the first gig in Zurich; "For reasons best known to myself the first vocal note of 'Blown Away' - 'We're living in a dust bowl...' - is a pretty high one. Picture the scene if you will. The band assembled onstage, our entourage, wives, girlfriends, road managers, personal managers etc gathered expectantly at the front of the hall. As I hit the first note my voice decided, without my consent, to perform a spectacular feat of elasticity. It rose several octaves to an eerie whistle, descended in a loop, cracked and ended with a yodel - strangely appropriate in the home of the yodel. The look of open-mouthed wonder on the face of our tour manager Phillip Foster and all our entourage caused me to instinctively turn to the rest of the band with what must have been a look of unsurpassed horror on my face. They all to a man turned away from me, some unsuccessfully suppressing guffaws, others like Leonard laughing outright. I hastened back to the microphone to complete ' in a dustbowl'. By the time I reached, 'All our friends will soon be blown away', I was beginning to giggle too, and 'Blown Away' was beginning to collapse in unrestrained mirth."

3rd May 1974 - Terry Williams
Caley Cinema - Edinburgh
terry williams 1974 edinburgh caley cinema

Of course, things weren't always easy for the fans either. Nick Brand headed out to see them on the evening of May 3rd, 1974, at the Caley Cinema in Edinburgh. The trip turned out to be fairly eventful; "Six of us from Fife set off in the early evening in an old Renault 4, Norrie Nicol driving, me in the passenger seat, John Harrower, Charlie Kilgour and Ian Blyth in the rear seat, and my sister Diane in the space between the back seat and back door! You wouldn't get away with that now, but nobody seemed to bother much then."

Micky Jones
micky jones 1974 edinburgh caley cinema

"On the coast road between Burntisland and Aberdour on the way to the Forth Road Bridge is a 1:4 hill with a 90 degree left hand bend half way down, known locally as the Mains Brae. Norrie had just had the car serviced the day before, and it seemed to be running fine, but as we trundled down the hill, I noticed he was pumping the brake pedal and nothing was happening (cue for a song...). He looked at me, I looked back, grabbed the handbrake and said "You steer"....."

Deke Leonard
deke leonard 1974 edinburgh caley cinema

"The handbrake came all the way up with a ping and we had no brakes left. Norrie did pretty well, we got round the bend on two wheels, but ended up on the wrong side of the road swerving wildly. Another car was on the way uphill, and Norrie pulled us back onto the left side of the road, the wheels dug in and over we went. I remember hanging upside down in the belt, watching the roof crush in and sparks fly everywhere. The driver of the oncoming car, who had slammed into reverse and bailed out backwards at a rate of knots, told us afterwards that we rolled three times, but I don't remember any of that!"

Ken Whaley
ken whaley 1974 edinburgh caley cinema

"When we ground to a stop upside down, we all unlatched belts and crawled out. Total injuries - 3 or 4 bruises and a couple of cuts from glass when the windows all shattered. The petrol tank had sheared and spilt petrol everywhere, how we didn't all burn to death I'll never know. The police and fire brigade arrived, sorted everything out, we pushed the car (still upside down) in to the side of the road and rushed down the hill to Aberdour Station in time to catch the train to Edinburgh......"

Malcolm Morley
malcolm morley 1974 edinburgh caley cinema

Man were superb that night - the lineup was Micky Jones, Deke Leonard, Ken Whaley, Malcolm Morley and Terry Williams - but the photographs Nick took were a bit blurred - he was probably still shaking. The set list included Blown Away, Taking The Easy Way Out, and A Hard Way To Live amongst other songs, sentiments that Nick and his travelling companions would recognise after such an eventful journey.

The Rhinos album was released, and a three week sellout British tour during May was followed by another excursion through Germany and Holland during June. After an appearance at the rain-lashed Buxton festival on July 5th, Malcolm announced he was leaving. It was a surprise to no-one, and the band decided to continue once more as a four-piece. The obligatory album, 'Slow Motion' was rehearsed and recorded during the summer, sessions being shoe-horned into a busy tour schedule. Recording at Rockfield was frequently diverted by the antics of Foghat, who had achieved some success in America, but who were ignored in their native Britain. Deke's comic description of events in his 'Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics' book may serve as some retribution.

1974 4-piece lineup
1974 (L-R Terry, Ken, Micky, Deke)

A second American tour had been proposed for the Manband, but it was a case of on again - off again throughout the year and it was eventually postponed. A quick blitz around the English south coast resorts in August was followed by some heavy gigging back on the familiar stomping territory of West Germany. The band took Sundays off in September but that was about it. October saw twenty dates in the UK plus a further three in France and then a rare week long excursion into Spain taking in the first few days of November. The US tour scheduled for November was cancelled, and gave them a few precious weeks of respite. An appearance on the BBC music programme 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' in January 1975 proved difficult, the second in a set of two songs, 'Many Are Called But Few Get Up', had to be re-recorded as the band weren't happy with the first take. It was the last time they appeared on BBC TV.

February arrived, and spirited the group off to Canada for a ten day tour supporting The Strawbs. Then 'Slow Motion' was released in the USA, and Man headed across the border and took to the American roads for a second time. This tour again included some notable events. Initially things fell apart when the tour's headline act REO Speedwagon fell foul of some uncompromising police action. Deke describes; "The police were, to a man, cowboy-hatted, khaki-drilled, pot-bellied ulcerous creatures armed with two pearl-handled silver pistols. Occasionally they would pick a kid out of the audience and give him a gentle pistol-whipping. There was the smell of sulphur in the air. Finally REO Speedwagon walked onstage. The crowd rushed to the stage, cheering with relief. The singer walked up to the microphone. 'Welcome to the police ball', he said. Three policeman waddled onto the stage and dragged him off to jail. The crowd bristled and faced-off the police. Guns were drawn and cocked. 'Right gentlemen,' said Barry, 'I think it's time for us to leave.'

Ron Sanchez, producer of 'Call Down The Moon' and main man of 'Donovan's Brain' takes up the story; "When I was finally free to take a gig a KOME I was reduced to 'intern' again. I'd been selling records to Phil Charles all the while. He'd play them, and I'd sell them the next day! Man got a lot of play during this time 74-75. By 75 Sean Donahue had finally moved back to San Francisco to work at KSAN, and we all followed. We quickly did a 12 hour weekend special to bring the city up to speed. It was around this time that Man returned to a much bigger audience. Sean's dad, Tom took a liking to the band, and they became a regular feature on the list. I think it helped firm up the relationship with Bill Graham."

Gigs at the Winterland in San Francisco on March 21st and 22nd were recorded, not for Man who were supporting, but for Peter Frampton who was the headline act. They were later released as 'Frampton Comes Alive' one of only a handful of genuinely successful live albums. The following day a gig at Berkeley was recorded by KSAN radio and these tapes may yet see the light of day if Ron Sanchez gets his way. The day after that Ken Whaley announced he was leaving, packed up and went home. Martin Ace flew out to the rescue, joining on a temporary basis to help them out. A few days rehearsing at the now abandoned Sausalito Heliport brushed off a few cobwebs before the band returned to the Winterland in April at Bill Graham's invitation.

The culmination of the American tour was their introduction to Quicksilver Messenger Service's mercurial guitarist John Cipollina. Cipollina was invited back to Britain to guest on the next UK tour. He agreed and arrived in London in early May to take up the baton. The tour lasted a month and the lineup was captured during the 'West Coast Weekend' concerts at the Chalk Farm Roundhouse, the album being released as 'Maximum Darkness'. Cipollina returned to America, and in June Man travelled as a four-piece again to Germany for two weeks, then to France for a week with Hawkwind, Gong, Magma and Larry Coryell. They wound down with a few British dates at the end of July and Martin Ace as good as his word left and went back to the Flying Aces.

It was also the end of the group's association with United Artists.