In conversation with Rick Fenn

Can we just congratulate you on becoming a father again?
Well thank you but Rubyís 17 months old now whilst my other children are nearly adults.

Getting on to things musical now, can you tell us about your group "The Circle Of FourĒ and "The TheramonesĒ?
The Circle of FourÖ..Now then, where did you hear about that?

Well, you told us at Ronnie Scottís last year.
Right, I remember now! Well, The Theramones is basically just a "fun bandĒ that I assemble and it is run on a floating membership basis and I am the common denominator. We did a gig last week (early Oct) and we are doing a gig this Saturday at the London Hilton on Park Lane in London. The one we did last Thursday was for a friend of mine who always throws a party for the Red Arrows, itís a bit of a shindig really for the pilots. We have done the gig for the last three years now and I always manage to assemble a pretty decent band for those gigs and they are always great fun to do.

What can you tell us about the London Hilton Charity Ball?
Well as you say it is a charity ball in aid of The Childrenís Leukaemia Trust and I have been doing these special gigs for the last six or seven years. I actually got Eric Stewart to appear as a special guest with me and I think that would have been the last time Eric and I played together live on stage; it was a memorable night and like I have said before, great fun. This year I was hoping to get Graham to appear as a special guest but unfortunately he was away at the time and could not change his commitments which was a shame; never mind thereís always next year.

And Ronnie Scottís next year?
I would not be surprised if Graham and I were at Ronnieís next year. It is a very intimate club and we are always very close to the audience, which is great.

You wrote a musical a few years ago, could you tell us about that?
One of the most important episodes on my life was indeed the musical that I wrote with my writing partner, Pete Howarth, for Bill Kenwright called Robin Ė Prince of Sherwood. The show is not on tour anymore but it did very well whilst it was on the road and it also did a stint in the West End. Pete and I spent so much time and put in so much effort in to this project that itís more like a rock opera rather than a musical and we are very proud of it. I suppose you could even call it a real family musical because it was very much aimed at family audiences.

Is any music from the show still available?
Some cassettes and CDís were sold in the foyer of the venues but it was never commercially released. At the moment Pete and I are very busy writing the new musical for Bill and that is taking up a lot of our time.

Pete Howarth sounds like he is very special to you?
Pete is indeed a very important person in my life and I donít tend to just refer to him as my writing partner, he is a very close personal friend.

Are there any other projects you have worked on lately apart from the musical?
Well over the period of time that Pete and I have worked together we have assembled an album of brand new material called Still I Fly but unfortunately this again will not be intended for commercial release. We are both very proud of this album; there is even a song on the album about my new daughter: Ruby Mae. Also on BBC 1 there is a documentary about O.J. Simpson and it is a very gripping documentary about O.J. and I wrote and played all the music for this programme. This was a very challenging project because they wanted the music to be a very sort of "LAĒ Black Hip-Hop style, so it took a while to home in on that kind of style.

[The piano startís to play in the background] Thatís my daughter playing the piano, she is pretty good I must say.

What can you recall about your Reflections album?
Good God thatís going back a bit now! Let me think, well basically I was commissioned to write this album which is a library album with a mixture of jingles and short tunes of various styles but looking back now I know I could of done a lot better, thatís not to say Iím ashamed of the album but it could have been better. Quite a lot of companies approach me to do this kind of thing in various styles like bottleneck style, which Iím pretty good at. They are quite nice to do and they form a quite nice source of relaxed income.

You also worked with Peter Green at one stage.
Yes thatís right, I played with Peter many years ago but I have never managed to get hold of any recordings that I was involved in. A lot of it was done about 20 years ago and I was part of a little band that was assembled around Peter just to try and get him back out in to the field really. Recently he has been back out and about and one of my friends, Spike Edney, has been out on tour with him. Peter was and still is one of my all time heroes because at the time I was playing with him he was playing cutting edge blues along the likes of the main man, Jimi Hendrix.

Which guitarist do you admire most?
There are far too many really but I suppose the main two are Ry Cooder and Jimi Hendrix.

Can I take you back to around 1978 and The Acapulco Kid?
It was amazing and so funny to hear that song again because you [10cc Official pages] interviewed Eric and you mentioned this song and he could not recall the title. As I read the interview I thought to myself "I know that titleĒ but I did not make the connection at all although there was something in the back of my mind telling me that I should know. It was not until Graham called me and said "Did we do a song called The Acapulco Kid?Ē and I said "Christ, yes thatís what it was!Ē I could not wait to hear it again and so Graham sent me a cassette of the song and I couldnít believe it, it was brilliant and so refreshing to hear it again after 23 years, it just simply blew me away. I am amazed that it never made it on to an album even though this version is very basic. I wish we had finished it properly but we never got around to it.

Have you been in contact with either Eric or Graham lately?
I am always in pretty regular contact with Graham; in fact we have just filmed a slot for London T.V. doing Heart full Of Soul and Mick Wilson was there as well. We were only miming to a backing track but it was good. I spoke to Eric a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about the Paul Young Memorial Concert up in Manchester and he was saying that he would very much like to be a part of it. Eric is very easy to get on with and there is also a lot of mutual respect for each otherís guitar playing. Heís a really nice chap.

The band at Ronnie Scottís last year sounded superb, what do you think?
I agree, the sound was superb; the band was really rocking and after Ronnie Scottís we played a festival in Germany and we went down an absolute storm. I can remember thinking at the time that this was just too good to let it all go and go back to our day jobs but it just didnít happen which is a real shame really and even the short American tour failed to happen.

What can you remember about Dr Pepper?
It was the very first project that I ever worked on with Eric and Graham and as with The Acapulco Kid it was amazing to hear it for the very first time, I remember Eric and Graham arranged the 10cc rendition of Dr Pepper superbly.

The EndÖFor Now.

Published November 2000.

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