Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

The Riot Squad

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Graham Bonney - guitar/vocals, Ron Ryan - lead guitar/vocals, Bob Evans - tenor sax/flute/vocals, Mike Martin - bass, Mitch Mitchell - drums

The Riot Squad underwent a number of changes in personnel during their career but are probably best remembered for having, at some stage or other, David Bowie and Mitch Mitchell in their line-up, though not at the same time. The group was originally put together by producer Larry Page in 1964 with members who had been part of other bands. Marks Stevens joined on organ for TV shows, recording and gigs. However, the original line-up did not last long as they were more manufactured than evolved naturally. Graham Bonney was the first to leave followed by Ryan and Martin. In 1966, Mitch Mitchell left to join Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, later joining the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

A second version of Riot Squad started playing together from October 1965. Only Bob Evans remained from the original line-up and he was joined by "Nero" Gladman on vocals, Roger Crisp on bass, Terry Clifford on guitar, Butch Davis on keyboards and Del Roll on drums. They had previously been a group called The Chevrons. Larry Page had stopped working with the band and Joe Meek started to produce their tracks. With Joe Meek at the helm they produced four singles for Pye.

The group split again following Joe Meek's death in 1967 and the departure of "Nero", Roger Crisp and Terry Clifford. However, a new line-up was formed with Bob Evans, Butch Davis and Dell Roll joined by David Bowie on vocals as well as Rod Davis on guitar and "Croak" Prebble on bass. This line-up played 20 gigs as well as recording some tracks. The band were known for their use of face paint as well as theatrical stage shows. Clearly this turned out to be a major influence on the pre-Ziggy Stardust David Bowie. A new American producer Lee Magid made some recordings of The Riot Squad in October 1967 although he allegedly disappeared with the tapes. However, an acetate appeared in 2012 and they have now been issued.

Bob Evans left the band in July 1968. The band then carried on until mid-1969.

Graham Bonney had a small UK hit in the UK in 1966 with Supergirl. He subsequently had a successful career in Germany.

Acid Jazz released The Toy Soldier EP as part of its Rare Mod series in June 2013. The tracks include I'm Waiting for My Man with David Bowie on vocals.

David Bowie died of cancer in January 2016.

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