Saturday, January 24, 2015

Michael Edwicker (aka Mist at School) Sound Engineer at Strawberry Studios, Stockport.

Michael Edwicker
The Original M28 alerted us to the fate of Michael Edwicker who was the City of Coventry Boarding School around 1959 / 60 I think. At school Michael had an interest in Crystal Radio sets and went on to be a sound engineer at the famous Strawberry Recording Studios in Stockport, where he was sound engineer for bands like Thin Lizzie and 10cc and more.

Crystal Radio Sets at School
The original M28 (don;t know his real name) recounts the late 50's / early 60's at the school -

" Any visitor to the school must have looked in amazement at the array of different items sitting on the ridge
tiles of the dormitories. Many of the lucky lads had crystal sets, which were a lifeline in keeping in touch with what was going on in the outside world. For these to work you only needed two connections, an ariel and an earth (no batteries). The earth was no problem inasmuch as you ran a wire from the crystal set to the water pipes that ran along the length of the dormitory, having firstly scraped off some paint so as to get a good connection, the more tricky bit was to firstly find a long piece of wire and then find something heavy to which you attach the aerial wire then lob it up and over the roof and pull it carefully to the top so as to get a good reception. This is where for us as school lads it was the norm to see all strange items running along the top of the roof, old shoes, bits of wood, pipe or what have you - suppose to the uninitiated it seemed a strange sight but for us lads it was a necessity.

Michael Edwicker
My Dad made me a transistor set - this differed from a crystal set in that it was more powerful and needed
batteries to operate - it was an awesome piece of kit and I remember the Thomas Bros, Ivan (waffle) and (forgotten his brothers name) together with Michael Edwicker stripping the set to pieces as soon as my Dad had returned to Cov to see what components where inside -

After lights out those of us who had crystal / transistor sets were able to put our earphone on and listen for a
while to the Light programme or the Home Service and on a good reception night could pick up Radio Luxembourg. I remember listening in to Friday Night is Music Night - what a load of cr*p that was, but it was an escape from the norm.

Recall one night must have fallen asleep with my earphones on and when Tanky Thorne came round to check we were ok, he took my headphones off my head (unbeknown to me) and in the morning at inspection he confiscated the transistor set and headphones for the rest of the term

Sadly I heard that Michael Edwicker who was affectionately known as Mist (as he liked to wear his
glasses in the showers and they misted up) died in a house fire in 2007. I heard on the grapevine that he was well into music and sound and that he once did some sound control for Status Quo and that due to the volume of music involved his hearing had suffered."
Signed: The Original M28

How to Build a Crystal Radio Set -

The original M28 has recently found this article from the Manchester Evening News in 2007 on Michael Edwicker.

Sound engineer to stars dies in blaze
Gifted musician and sound engineer Mick Edwicker.

TRIBUTES have been pouring in for music man Michael Edwicker, who has died following a huge fire at his home.

The 62-year-old electronics whizz, who worked at the hallowed Strawberry Studios in Stockport and was a sound engineer for chart-topping rock 'n' roll bands for such as Thin Lizzie and 10CC, died in Wythensahwe Hospital on Wednesday morning. Mick, as he was known to friends, had suffered 65 per cent burns to his face, chest, arms and legs. The blaze happened at his home on Whitby Road, Ladybarn, at about 2pm on Sunday.

Police and the fire service say they are not treating the incident as suspicious at this stage. Mick's death has shocked friends both on the music circuit and at his favourite pub, the Fletcher Moss in Didsbury, where he had been a regular for the past 30 years.

Paul Taylor, who first met Mick when they were both playing on the folk music scene in the late 60s, said: "This is a terrible shock. He was such a nice guy - we're all devastated."

He added: "Most of Mick's working life involved rock 'n' roll. He went out on the road with Barclay James Harvest, and Thin Lizzie when they were quite big, as well as the musical impersonator Joe Longthorn. Mick was an electrical engineer but he called himself 'The Settler', which is another word for roadie."

Paul, from Didsbury, added: "Mick was a fantastic bloke, so helpful and genuine. He was a master of the one-liner and also did charity concerts for the Labour party.

"He lost his wife Anne a few years ago - she died of liver failure in her early fifties. They were devoted; never apart. They wanted kids but could never have them, which was a great source of sadness for them both.

"Mick never really recovered after Anne died and he did struggle."

Mick was co-owner of the equipment and instrument-hire side of Strawberry Studios, which was also used as a recording studio by the likes of Paul McCartney, the Stone Roses, Paul Young, New Order and Manchester megaband 10CC, one of whose band members, Eric Stewart, took over the running of the studios with Peter Tattersall.

The studio, which was awarded a blue plaque after it closed last year, went on to become one of the premier recording facilities outside London.

Mick, who was a gifted rock 'n' roll musician himself, ended up buying 10CC's kit and rented it out under Strawberry Rentals.
Since losing his wife he had lived alone for a spell then took in a lodger, his friend Nevin King, who returned from a boat trip to find the house in ruins.

When fire crews arrived at the scene on Sunday they found flames shooting out from the ground floor of Mick's mid-terrace house, which was already well alight.

They broke into the house and found Mick overcome by smoke inhalation and suffering from severe burns.
He had stopped breathing and was resuscitated before being rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmary.

He was then transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital. The cause of the blaze is as yet unknown.

After the blaze the house, whose ground floor was almost completely destroyed, was sealed off to allow an investigation to take place.

Neighbour Helen Edmundson, 20, said: "I saw the fire through my window. The whole house was ablaze and there was lots of smoke. The fire brigade carried out a man."

A fire brigade spokesman said the blaze was so big it needed 14 firefighters to bring it under control.

Mick's death has been referred to a coroner."

Here's a link to the History of Strawberry Studios Home page  -

his page tells the fascinating history of the studio

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vince Martin and the Vampires - Coventry's First Ever Rock n Roll Band - Vince went to Wyre Farm!

Vince Holliday who was later better known as Vince Martin, leader of Coventry's first ever Rock n Roll Band and the the founder of Coventry's music agency Friar's Promotion, went to Wyre farm Camp School in the post war years 1945 to 1950. back then the Headmaster was Mr Martin who was replaced by Mr Morris after Mr Martin retired. He's now approaching 80 and still in the music business as booking and publicity manager for The Phoenix Rock n Roll Band.

Here is a recent article on Vince Martin and the Vampires written by my good friend Pete Clemons for the Coventry Telegraph -

This article is also on another of my Coventry websites - here

This is the Coventry band The Phoenix Rock n Roll Band that Vince now promotes.
And if you want to find out more or book the band they have a Facebook Page

Friars Promotions
Vince also started Friars Promotions in Coventry and I still have one of their business cards from when I was publishing Hobo - Coventry Music and Arts magazine, in the early / mid 70's.
It's not as pristine as it once was, hence the discolouring.

And here is a post on Friars Promotion that i did for one of the Hobo magazine sites - 

Tuesday night at the Walsgrave in 1970 was run by Pete Waterman for Friars Promotions. I used to do the door for Pete at these gigs and here are a few tickets i still have.

Mr Martin was Headmaster at the time Vince was at the school and here is a photo of him from Coventry Archives.
Mr B. Martin - head at Wyre Farm we think 1942 to either 1947 or 48 or 53 depending on various conflicting memories. Vince thinks he retired in 1947 others are not sure if he retired or passed away. Anyway we at least have a photo of him!