The Little Drum and Percussion Page

The Flying Pigs

Cult Three Piece Rock Band from The Eighties

 

Hello

When I first started doing this webpage years ago, networks weren't fast or cheap enough to stream mp3 files and sound files were streamed as Real Audio. Currently I am updating the audio files so they will stream as mp3s and I've managed to add two new live tracks recorded at The Two Brewers in Clapham Common about 1980/1.

The Two Brewers recording of Breaking Up might have appeared here before. It is particularly interesting because of the mix. For a few gigs around this time we had Welshman Peter Griffiths mixing the sound and on this occasion he pushed his psychedelic boat out and went for it. The reveb swells and delays he added really enhanced Mickey Jones' solo. The atmosphere was unique and by the end of the track nobody could see farther than a couple of feet, as the pyrotecnics that Pete brought got somewhat out of control and filled the packed pub with smoke.

Anyhow, you can see from the photo 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 .

Thanks for looking

Phil

May 2017

You can currently buy The Flying Pigs CD through Amazon and on ebay. Watch here for details of a new release with bonus tracks.

 

 

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.

Scroll on for more information.

Live Recordings

Here are a couple of tracks from the first gig The Flying Pigs did at The Two Brewers in Clapham Common, London on 2nd November 1979. The quality is not great but you can hear the adventurous Spirit in Mickey Jones playing.

What In The World by Mickey Jones

Where Is The Song by Mick Hawksworth

This recording is from a gig at The Two Brewer's about a year or so later when we had built up a bit of a following. There was so much pyrotecnic smoke we couldn't see each other through the fog. The mix is from the desk operated by a psychedelically enhanced Peter G and you can hear he goes a bit crazy with the delay and panning. It sounded something else again in the large pub and was appreciated by the audience who came to gigs expecting improvisations where anything could happen. What days...

Perhaps not surprisingly, we find a similar thirst for interesting jamming in the audiences around Hastings with The Rhythm Section. You can notice, in their faces, the same kind of excitement and tension we are feeling in the band, teetering on the precepice of either Glory or Disaster, from minute to minute and second to second.

When jamming like that, Mickey Jones could throw some real 'curved balls', as they say. A sudden increase in volume (or drop) to control the dynamics and perhaps a solo in any style of music you can think of. Or, the unexpected employment of the Roland mono synth that Mickey used to great effect. He'd have that really loud and it would suddenly come in frazzling the wallpaper and vibrating people's beer and we'd be off on a Frank Zappa journey. Both Mickey and Mick were big fans of Frank Zapp and one day I'll try and find time to write up the story of when Frank Zappa invited Mick Hawksworth up to his hotel room to hear the just completed masters of Sheik Yerbouti.

Breaking Up - Mickey Jones

also from the same gig, but a bit tamer,

On The Street - Mick Hawksworth

 

This video is from Tommy Hoolihan's Benefit at The Half Moone Herne Hill in October 1987

 

 

This live track is also from sometime after 1987. Sounds like it is taken from the desk at The Black Horse

This Time Round by Mick Hawksworth

 

Recollections of drummer Phil Little

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 BBC 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. Mickey 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

Phil Little

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.

Love

Phil

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

Although the master tapes seem to have disappeared, these recordings have been rescued and re-mastered by Phil Little and Mick Hawksworth in a digital studio.. You can buy The Flying Pigs CD through Amazon and on ebay.

Phil Little Music

TuneTribe.com
 

Here are some links to webpages featuring Mickey Jones,

http://www.myspace.com/mickyjonesuk

http://www.manband-archive.com/

http://www.littledrum.co.uk/flyingpigs1.htm

http://www.myspace.com/theflyingpigsuk

 

 

website authored and maintained by - www.littledrum.co.uk

E-mail phil@littledrum.co.uk