Mungomania Interview

Following on from the fan club interview with Paul Hancox, Paul suggested that I got in touch with Bob Daisley for a few words on his time in the band from 1973-1974. Bob of course went on to fame and fortune with such acts as - RAINBOW, GARY MOORE, OZZY OSBOURNE, URIAH HEEP - to name but four, and I wasn't too sure that he would want to discuss his MUNGO days with me, but after a phone call from Bob back home in Australia, declaring that he was up for it, off we went.

Can you fill us in on your musical background?

I began playing guitar at the age of 13 in a class of about 30, listening to THE SHADOWS, THE VENTURES, surf bands like CHANTAYS, etc – this was 1963. 1964, I began playing bass, listening to THE BEATLES, STONES and current U.S and U.K chart bands. During my childhood, I had a good background of ‘roots’ rock and roll having an older sister that bought a good supply of current 50’s stuff – EVERLEYS, BUDDY HOLLY, GENE VINCENT, EDDIE COCHRAN, RICKY NELSON, ELVIS, etc. Aged 15, I was playing bass in my high school band, then in 1966 joined a ‘pro’ band called THE DELAWARES – a Beatlesque type outfit. Later that year, I worked with a band called ‘Throb’, which was my first introduction to the blues, continued with various bands until my first heavy band in 1970 called KAHVAS JUTE – album, 'WIDE OPEN', now a collectors item. My influences were CREAM, JETHRO TULL, LED ZEPPELIN, JEFF BECK GROUP (with RON WOOD on bass), definitely PAUL McCARTNEY and THE BEATLES, JAMES JAMESON/TAMLA MOTOWN, etc.

We all know that you hail from Australia, what were the circumstances regarding you coming to England?

I left Australia in 1971 to further my career in London. 1972, I joined CHICKEN SHACK after being introduced to STAN WEBB by a friend of mine called Clive Coulson whom I’d been in a band with in Sydney called MECCA (‘69/70). Clive worked with Led Zep’ and knew Stan. It was February 13th 1972 that I saw Stan again (it was my 22nd birthday) in a pub, the Prince Of Wales in Holland Park, London and he asked me if I wanted to join CHICKEN SHACK. I’d already had a play with the band in 1971 at Olympic Studios, Barnes. We began rehearsing soon after as a three piece. Stan, myself and PAUL HANCOX. I loved being in England and had many relatives there – my mother’s family emigrated from Sunderland and I was born in Sydney. I lived in Holland Park until 1983 when we moved to Brighton.

And were Chicken Shack your first professional band?

CHICKEN SHACK were my first pro’ band in England. I’d been in others in ‘Oz.

Do you look back with fondness on your days with the Mungo band?

I look back in fondness on the days of all the bands I’ve been in, including Mungo. Many a good gig, good drink and much fun!

I did hear that you that you didn't always enjoy playing some of the mungo stuff – i.e.: In The Summertime?

I didn’t enjoy all the Mungo songs as far as playing goes but ‘Summertime’ wasn’t one I didn’t enjoy. 'LADY ROSE' and some of the more commercial ‘poppy sounding’ stuff I found not to be my cup of tea.

‘Alright Alright Alright’ was a brilliant number with all the band members playing a part in producing a superb recording. Obviously, you were one of those members Bob, what do you remember of the recording session?

The ‘Alright’ recording session is a bit of a blur - we drank a lot and had fun doing it and were pleased with the outcome. I didn’t like the ‘doop-doop, doopy-doop-doops’ and the ‘poppy’ outcome personally but it did well!

It must have been a buzz to do 'Top of the Pops'?

Yeah! It was a buzz for me, as a youngster to do TOTP but we were pissed then too! I wasn’t big on anything poppy but it was a great life experience.

I can remember hearing 'Wild Love' for the first time in a club in Sheffield, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! It was of course called, 'Angel Child' then and didn't have the screaming chorus, I always thought that it was better that way?

I agree! I would compare 'ANGEL CHILD' to how ‘Alright’ was ruined with screams and ‘poppyness’. ‘Alright’ was originally like almost a STEVE MARRIOT/SMALL FACES style approach. Then came the hit single treatment…but I can’t argue with its success.

The 1973 line-up (Dorset, Daisley, Cook, Hancox/Bidwell) evolved into a really good blues/rock band during 1974 with Dick and Ian Milne joining the band. It was for me, the best ever mungo jerry line-up after the original group but broke up relatively soon after forming, what happened?

I think that was the best line-up too! It was a good blues/rock band but still had the ‘poppy’ element, which rubbed DAVE BIDWELL, Dick and myself up the wrong way. Dave was seriously into heroin but still always played well. I left to go back to STAN WEBB who’d now recruited ROBBIE BLUNT, also on guitar. I enjoyed playing with Stan and Robbie – it was authentic blues and much respected. If I remember correctly, DAVE BIDWELL played with us for a while at one stage.

The '73/'74 line-up's had a fair bit of singles success but amazingly never recorded an album, why was that?

I think that we didn’t do an album because MUNGO JERRY was a singles band. We’d like to have made it more of a musically respected band but Ray and the management seemed to like quick success and a fast buck.

If my memory serves me correctly,that period in the band's history was the only time that it didn't play 'In the Summertime' on stage and concentrated on current material?

I can’t remember not playing ‘Summertime’ but there are probably lots of things I don’t remember! But it was all fun and looking back, a great experience. I drank a lot because I was basically unhappy not being in a ‘heavy’ or TRUE blues band – but that wasn’t anything personal with the band – looking back, it was all good fun!

To me, they were great days following the band around the country, I always enjoyed going to see the '74 line-up, I think because most of the gigs were held in ballrooms and colleges and went on until the early hours - real boozy nights!

I think most nights were boozy! Ballroom’s and college’s or not!

After Mungo, am I right in thinking that you went on to join Widowmaker with ex-love affair vocalist, Steve Ellis?

After MUNGO JERRY, I went back to STAN WEBB as I said before (1974). In ’75, I formed WIDOWMAKER with ARIEL BENDER (LUTHER GROSVENOR) from SPOOKY TOOTH and MOTT THE HOOPLE, PAUL NICHOLS from LINDISFARNE, HUW LLOYD-LANGTON from HAWKWIND and yes, STEVE ELLIS from THE LOVE AFFAIR. We did two albums, 'WIDOWMAKER' with Ellis and 'TWO LATE TO CRY' with JOHN BUTLER – a better singer in my opinion.

After that, you played with Rainbow, Ozzy, and Gary Moore. Anyone else?

Yes! - RAINBOW, OZZY, URIAH HEEP, back to OZZY then GARY MOORE. Various sessions including a BLACK SABBATH album in ’86 entitled, 'ETERNAL IDOL'.

What were the Ozzy days like?

I always got on fine with OZZY and did most of his earlier studio albums – 'BLIZZARD OF OZ', 'DIARY OF A MADMAN', 'BARK AT THE MOON', ‘NO REST FOR THE WICKED’ and 'NO MORE TEARS'. I’m currently suing Ozzy and management for royalties not paid on ‘Blizzard’ and ‘Diary’ and credits on ‘Diary’ but that’s business and nothing personal – it goes to court in 2002.

I took an interest in Ozzy when you joined up with him, I thought the guitarist, Jake E. Lee was brilliant!

I formed the band with Ozzy and RANDY RHODES and wrote all lyrics for most albums I played on except, 'NO MORE TEARS' – I just played on that! I wrote music/all lyrics for 'ULTIMATE SIN'. JAKE E. LEE was/is a great player. Randy’s shoes were a hard pair to fill – Jake did it admirably!

What's happening now?

I’ve just recorded a blues album here in Sydney. Still thinking of a name for the band. The guitarist/singer is one of the guitarists from KAHVAS JUTE – we hooked up again! I came back to Sydney in 1997. I’ve also been working with a San Francisco band called MOTHER’s ARMY since the early 90’s. JOE LYNN TURNER (vocals), JEFF WATSON (guitar), CARMINE APPICE (drums) on first two albums – 'MOTHER’s ARMY' and 'PLANET EARTH' – and AYNSLEY DUNBAR (drums) on the third album – 'FIRE ON THE MOON'. Currently, I’m learning to play blues harmonica.

Paul Hancox has said that he would love to play with Ray again, is that something that appeals to you?

If Paul and Ray wanted me to do an album or E.P, I’d be interested – maybe Dick also. Bidwell’s in the ‘big band in the sky’ – sad! I’ve spoken to Ray fairly recently – it was good to talk to him again. As you know, I saw Dick in Worthing and Paul in Brighton and I gave Ray JOHN COOK’s number and they spoke – who knows what we’d sound like – probably good! (hopefully)

Interview by Mungomania • 2006