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Rab Ballantyne

Hi Alastair,

Mogul Thrash indeed !! Do you know every band that ever existed ? NOBODY but nobody has ever heard of Mogul Thrash ! And I can tell you that the guys involved in that would like to keep it that way ! They all somehow feel ashamed of that bit of their past.

It all started like this......late 60's I was in the Foreign Office by then and on one of my visits back to our home town of Montrose I ran into my old childhood friend Molly Duncan whom I hadn't seen in years...in a coffee shop that belonged to local artist Syd Walker. Molly was just pissing around in Scotland and I suggested he should get his arse down to London where it was all happenin'. He did. He came and stayed with me in Hornton Street just off High Street Kensington. He had an old pal in London whom he decided to look up, one Jim Mullen. Jim was staying with Pete Brown (Yes, the Pete Sunshine of Your Love and other Clapton things Brown) in Montague Square in Mayfair. Jim was doing some things with Pete and they later formed the band called "Piblokto" where Pete 'sang', if that's the word, and played a talking drum( ever heard of Piblokto?)...Pete used to say that 'Piblokto' was what Eskimos shouted as they leapt from burning airplanes...he was the man that called beans on toast "Thousand on a Raft".


Piblokto


So Molly's looking for a gig and Jim has this pal James Litherland (never heard anyone call him 'Jimmy' - he was known to us all as "Buttie" Litherland) who was putting a band together. Molly got started off in London there. (Roger Ball, the other half of the later-to-be-known-as Dundee Horns arrived on the scene later at the start of AWB - see below) Mogul Thrash was actually a really exciting band live - their album didn't do justice and was pretty awful......I think later in life they all tried to destroy any living copies of it still on the planet. Buttie then went on to form "Brotherhood" and I think Mol and John played on their first album...memory is a bit hazy here...they were hazy times.

Anyway, one night a few weeks after his arrival in London Molly and I went to the Royal Albert Hall to see Jim Mullen who was doing a gig with the Graham Bond Organisation as the support band to Clapton...more Scottishness here in the shape of the good Jack Bruce. So after the gig we're stumbling down the steps of the R.A.H. when we literally bump into Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre....Molly and Alan had played in some 'jazz' band together at Dundee Art College and hadn't seen each other in years...."So, whatya doin' man?" and blah blah blah "Yeah, let's get together for a blow."

 

Piblokto3

 

Alan and Onnie had a band at the time called "Forever More", all Scottish guys, and it was a good band. So at the said blow (I was there) it was just amazing...they were all knocked out at what came out....the very first seeds of AWB. So Molly says "I've got this friend in Dundee, a great musician, alto player, keyboard player, Roger Ball...I'm going to get him to get his arse down here too." He did. Then one day Alan said "I've got this friend in Glasgow, great singer, great guitarist, great bass player, Hamish Stuart...I'm going to get him get his arse down here. And he did. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now going back to John Wetton, I was going to mention his past to you and links with King Crimson, Roger Chapman and Family, then I remembered Mogul Thrash and thought better about bringing up his murky past. At one point John, Molly and I shared a flat in London....our next door neighbour was Del Newman who was then Cat Stevens producer ! So all that crowd was milling around me in those early days...and early days for all of them too.....Clapton, Bruce, Fripp, Ferry and even Ringo Starr...Piblokto's drummer was a guy named Rob Tait.....we became really close friends...one of the other guys in Piblokto was called Roger Bunn who was in fact Rob's flat mate. Bunn was close friends with Ringo...so one Saturday night Bunn, Tait and myself were sitting around in their flat smoking a joint when a knock at the door proved to be none other than Ringo Starr...."C'mon lads...we're going out tonight. I've got Lennon's white Roller outside, and his credit cards ! Let's tear the town apart." And we did...just the four of us, and I suppose John Lennon got the bill. Did you know that Hamish did a U.S. tour with Ringo's Allstar Band last year...funny after having played for years in McCartney's band.....you just can't get away from those Scottish musicians !

Leg playing up...too much time at keyboard !

Love,

Rab

[-p000000000000000000000000
Idi Amin Drawing

Hi Alastair,

Great drawing ! Forgive my saying so but you've done Idi two large favours.....it actually looks more like Forrest Whitaker than it does Idi and you made him a 'coffee-with-milk' colour.
He was black...in fact so black he was almost blue...that deep indigo colour of a clear sky on a moonless night.

You know, racism was rife in Uganda and I suspect all over Africa, but never against the "white Imperialists", rather among themselves. They never use the word black....they say brown...if they want to really insult somebody they never say 'fucken motherfucker' or the like....they'd say "Oh, Peter Makobe is so brown, don't trust him." or "so-and-so is very brown". Uganda was made up of 39 tribes in all their varying shades of brown (the largest tribe were the Buganda, hence the name of the country) but Idi's tribe, the Kakwa, was never even considered as being a Ugandan tribe....they were a nomadic lot moving around the desert in the southern part of Sudan and crossing the (unmarked) border into northern Uganda and boy were these guys black...never seen blacker !

Anyway here's a wee photographic and exclusive treat for you. I remembered I had a shirt that Idi gave me....a shirt he had made for the 1975 Organisation of African Unity Summit that was held in Kampala. He dished those out to all visiting Heads of State and other dignatories and he gave me one !

So the photo is...

Yours truly wearing it, taken 10 minutes ago !

Enjoy !

Love,

Rab