The Flying Pigs was a three piece Rock Band regularly playing the main Pub Rock venues in London during the late seventies and eighties. The band featured cult guitarist Mickey Jones from the legendary Welsh band Man, ex-Alvin Lee bass player Mick Hawksworth and Phil Little, veteran of the London pub circuit and Live Music Campaigner, on drums.
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ADULT CONTENT WARNING
There are a couple of 'F' words in the onstage banter before and after "This Time Round" and if you have children around you should be aware of that.
What In The World (Micky Jones) 5.04 - The Two Brewers 1980
This Time Round (Mick Hawksworth) 7.42 - The Two Brewers 1980
Jet Laggin’ (Micky Jones) - The Two Brewers 1980…..
and Breakin’ Up (Micky Jones) 13.52 - The Two Brewers 1980
Where Is The Song (Mick Hawksworth) 5.38 - The Royal Standard 1986
Back Together Again (Micky Jones) 5.44 - The Royal Standard 1986
Talk About A Mornin’ (Buzzy Linhart) 7.55 - The Royal Standard 1986
Livin’ In The Real World (Mick Hawksworth) 6.01 - The Royal Standard 1986
Psycho (Mick Hawksworth) 5.14 - The Royal Standard 1986
Breakin’ Up (Micky Jones) 5.40 - The Royal Standard 1986
Assylum (Micky Jones) 4.51 - The Royal Standard 1986
By 1981 The Flying Pigs were the house band at The Two Brewers in Clapham Common and we had some memorable gigs there. For a short period we were blessed with the amiable and affordable services of Peter Griffiths who brought his large PA and mixed us. The recordings were taken straight from the desk and on this occasion Peter was Psychedelically excited. You can hear this in the mix of Breakin’ Up.
The recording of This Time Round was made the week before the other tracks and Peter went to town experimenting with Pyrotechnics. Whatever he set off filled the pub with choking smoke and onstage I couldn’t see Mick Hawksworth who was five feet away. We had to stop playing for five minutes and open all the doors and windows in the pub until the air cleared.
The guitar solo features an early monophonic Roland synthesizer which belonged to Mick Hawksworth. It was incredibly difficult to control when used with a guitar audio
feed. However, Micky found a way and played some amazing solos.
There were occasions when it played up though and this is one.
In those days Wales were quite dominant in Rugby Union, but on the day of the gig England had beaten them and this was the background for the remarks before Breakin’ Up.
Micky Jones was the most easy-going laid back guy I have ever met and Mick Hawksworth was completely bonkers so every event was like a Circus back then, you never knew what was coming next and we had so many laughs.
When we recorded the drum tracks for Assylum and Last Birthday Party Peter brought along loads of microphones and as he was bent over unpacking them Mick Hawksworth appeared with a Starting Pistol and fired it next to his behind. It was as loud as a real gun and I’ve never seen anyone jump so fast. Come to think of it, that was the last time I saw Peter.
In 1983 Man reformed to play the Reading Festival and that signaled the end of the first phase of the Flying Pigs. However, by 1986 things had calmed down somewhat and Micky had moved to Gloucestershire. Mick Hawksworth arranged a one-off gig in Hastings and it was so much fun that we started doing mini-tours of the London area lasting about eight days.
One of the first gigs was at The Black Horse in Walthamstow supporting Steve Marriot and we had his dedicated crowd in full attendance. Micky played and sang the set with real passion and won the crowd over handsomely. Mick Hawksworth owned a beat-up Cassette player/recorder with built-in mics and I would occasionally persuade him to bring it to the gig so we could record it. On this occasion, I placed the cassette recorder near the mixing desk and Keith Nelson, who was the promoter and sound engineer, agreed to keep an eye on it. As the pub filled up there were people stood around the desk and some conversation can be heard on the recordings. It is amusing, however, when they are trying to work out who is playing what in the breakdown of Livin’ In The Real World.
Their analysis might have been confused by the fact Mick Hawksworth also had bass pedals and Micky was playing his solo through the Rolannd Synth.
The Flying Pigs played support to Steve Marriot several more times at The Royal Standard and we became good friends. On one occasion, while we were playing, I spotted Steve at the side of the stage watching Micky and afterward I asked him, “Why didn’t you get up for a blow with us ?” and he replied “Because you never f*****n’ asked me !”.
Phil Little 2020
Right then - you can see from the photos the state my eyes were in forty years ago and I won't go into the rest, so please excuse the basic design of the website, errors, broken links and waffle. 'It is what it is' as the theatricals like to say. I believe it will be a bit more useful for me to spend the time trying to find some more audio tracks to include .
We just released The Flying Pigs CD which is taken from impromptu casette recordings that I snaffled up all those years ago. The quality is not studio and their significant interest might be limited to Micky Jones fans. If you want to hear Micky really let go in a three piece then this might be your thing. Here is one of the tracks on the Flying Pigs LIve CD.
Back Together Again - The Royal Standard 1986
Thanks for looking
In the Autumn of 1979 Mick Hawksworth approached me about forming a band and I was quite flattered because he was well known in the South London circle of musicians and had played with Alvin Lee. Mick had also played with Andromeda who I had heard on John Peel's Top Gear in app. 1970. They were really spacy, moreso than Pink Floyd in a way, and I really liked them. Andromeda recorded an album on which Mick wrote a lot of the material but I have never been able to find it anywhere. Mick also recorded an album with a group called Fuzzy Duck, on which he wrote several songs.. I don't recall knowing of them, but theirs is now one of the most valuable progressive vinyl albums available in the collectors market and Fuzzy Duck enjoy something of a cult status.
Mick and myself held some unproductive auditions although it nearly clicked with a guy called Mike King and an ex-Manfred Mann's Earth Band guitarist, Dave Flett. They were both funny guys and very good players but Mike King was hilarious, a complete nutter. I remember the climax ending of one song we played and on the last big note he swung the arm of the guitar up. He was a big guy and the head of the guitar went through the false ceiling. He pulled the guitar out minus a machine-head. Hawksworth and myself fell about laughing and were unable to continue playing.
Then Mick Hawksworth suggested phoning ex-Man guitarist Mickey Jones who had been playing in London pubs with his own three-piece called Manipulator. Mickey came down to the pokey eight-track studio just up the road from Mick’s flat in East Dulwich and the three of us clicked instantly. We started rehearsing in my cellar at home and within a couple of weeks we were playing in a few different pubs in South London. The Clock in Brixton and The Old Cherry Tree in East Dulwich and The George Canning in Brixton come to mind.
An early gig at The George Canning 1979
Sometimes Steve Waller (another ex-Manfred Mann guitarist with the voice of a Righteous Brother) would join us and the pub would be packed to see Waller and Mickey Jones playing together. Two fabulous singers, both lead guitarists with major original progressive bands of the seventies. One Sunday afternoon we were playin at The Cricketers in The Oval and Steve Waller was playing with us but arrived during the second number. I remember vividly, he just got on stage plugged his amplifer and guitar in and with out even tunin up added the most beautiful bit of slide accompaniment which lifted the whole pub up about two feet. Writing this and recovering the memories reminds me how fortunate I was to play with such great musicians and beautiful people as Mickey, Mick and Steve.
Very early on we recorded two or three tracks at the small studio near to Mick’s house and these appear on The Flying Pigs CD, although they werte only ever intended to be quick deoms to get some gigs in.
We were keen to get into a quality Studio and see what we could do. Mick knew Pete Carr who had produced The Motors’ “Airport” hit single. He had expressed an interest in producing us and Mick had inveigled a day in Alvin Lee’s private studio on his farm in Buckinghamshire. We put down the backings for five or six tracks and Mick Hawksworth and I went to the pub with Alvin’s roadies. When we returned a bit later Alvin had put an intro and Lead Guitar solo on one of Mick’s tracks, “Private Movie”. Mickey said, “He came into the studio and I didn’t have any ideas what to do on the track so I asked him if he fancied playing the lead guitar and he plugged in and played it straight away.”
The story goes that Pete Carr took the finished tapes to the States and almost had a deal with a Major Record Company there when, at the last minute, some sequence of events or other conspired to dash the plans.
These times were difficult for Rock and Blues bands on the London Pub circuit. Punk/New Wave/Romantics had really established itself and many venues were switching to New Wave music in order to attract the youth.
The Flying Pigs played a few Tuesdays at a big pub in Clapham Common called The Two Brewers. We were pulling a crowd and within a year we were a regular Saturday night band at The Brewers. That was until a now well known Radio DJ gradually took over the venue and concentrated on Punk and new Wave bands. He turned us down for a gig, when a year earlier we had been the pub’s main draw.
Although all the big pubs were going New Wave, Mick Hawksworth knew his way around and there was always two or three gigs a week in the smaller pubs which would still be full because a lot of people always showed anywhere Mickey played. Also, a lot of the other musicians in South London would come to Flying Pigs gigs and jam sessions were the norm with musicians like Steve Waller, Steve Smith and Brendan Hoban joining in. For a while Mick Hawksworth ran a Tuesday night Jam at The Mitre ( later The Tunnel) in Greenwich under the name Corporal Henshaws, among other things,and both Mickey and myself played in that at various times. Other guitarists like Brian Garibaldi and Jimmy Roach were often up with us. It was a great community spirit between the musicians in the area at the time.
I suppose the biggest gig we did was The Stonehenge Festival in 1983 or 1984, to about 11,000 people. Unfortunately it ended in a bit of a disappointment when the guy who introduced us walked off the stage dragging Mickey’s Echoplex unit with him. Certain delay effects were built into our sound and routine and it didn’t sound the same. Micky is a trooper though and played a brilliant set.
The Flying Pigs worked less after Man reformed and Mickey moved to the West Country. From 1986/7 Mickey used to travel to London and The Flying Pigs did mini tours of London playing at places like Walthamstow’s The Royal Standard, The Plough in Stockwell, The Half Moon in Herne Hill, The Cartoon in Croydon, The Mitre in Greenwich and occasional gigs in Hastings and The South.
At the Royal Standard we often played with Steve Marriott whom we became great friends with. He used to watch Mickey play from the side of the stage. He told me a story about once having to pull Jimi Hendrix off his girlfriend at a party in his flat. A lovely man and one of the best soul singers ever from the UK. The last time I saw him he was watching us and when we came off I said “Why didn’t you get up and do a number with us?”, “You never f*****g asked me did you?” was his reply.I am sure he would have loved to get up and have a blow with Mickey and I suppose we thought he'd never have got up if we had asked him.
In 1990 I moved away from London to the South Coast and Mick Hawksworth evolved a different line up of The Flying Pigs. Both Man with Mickey and The Flying Pigs with Mick came to play gigs in Hastings that I arranged under our event banner "Liaison".
I am very pleased that the recordings we made so long ago are being made available and not going to waste. We thought that they stood up for themselves and it is good that people will be able to hear them at long last.
R.I.P. Mickey Jones
10th March 2010
It has been some months since Mick Hawksworth's funeral on 17th February 2017 and it has been a long haul, let's say. I would ring up Mick late at night on an almost monthly basis for years, especially after Mickey died when we would re-call his great talents and what times we had playing with him. Now there's nobody to ring up and I miss these guys like you would miss your head. They were such brilliant people as many people testified on their sad passing.
20th May 2017
Every year Mickey Jones' son, George, organises a Memorial Benefit fo Mickey at Christmas time. The first one was in 2010, the year that Mickey died and George Jones and Richie Galloni from Son Of Man joined Mick Hawksworth and myself to open the second night of first Mickey Jones Memorial Gig (Available on DVD) as The Flying Pigs. Mick and I hadn't played the numbers for twenty five years and George and Richie had to learn them as well as a heap of other songs and despite that they managed to turn out an electrifying performance of Mickey's song Back Together Again. George has kindly given permission to share it, here .
The Recording Sessions available as The Flying Pigs CD
session 1 Dulwich - Recorded in a budget Eight track studio near to Mick Hawksworth's home. We did this session within the first few weeks of getting together since we needed some kind of tape to get gigs. It was the same place we auditioned and first played with Mickey.
Jet Laggin' by Mickey Jones
On The Street by Mick Hawksworth
session 2 Alvin Lee's - All done in a day at Alvin's luxury Sixteen track studio on his farm in Buckinghamshire. Pete Carr (Pathway Studios) produced and mixed. Alvin Lee plays lead guitar on Private Movie.
Back Together Again by Mickey Jones
Breaking Up by Mickey Jones
Psycho by Mick Hawksworth
What In The World by Mickey Jones
Private Movie by Mick Hawksworth
session 3 Drums Recorded in Mick Hawkworth's bedroom and the rest at Pete Carr's (Pathway Studios) on a different day. Pete Griffiths loaned loads of mikes for the drum tracks and while he was bending over to get them out Mick let off a starting pistol behind him. Pete jumped about ten feet. Fine way to treat a sound engineer.
Assylum by Mickey Jones
Last Birthday Party by Mickey Jones
Against The Crowd by Mick Hawksworth
The Flying Pigs studio album will be re-released on Light From Darkness Records with bonus tracks of previously unreleased studio versions of some of Micky's best songs. (Phil Little March 2020)
Here are some links to webpages featuring Mickey Jones,