When I was at Loughborough I started a band called the Celebrated Artists Band, a multi-media group with some like-minded members of staff and some ex-students. It was an attempt to marry music with avant-garde theatre. A sort of madness. Very performance based. We got a record deal with Charlie Gillett, who had stared Oval Records with his business partner, and He liked the demo tapes I had produced on a four-track Ferrograph and said that he wanted to put us together with a producer, Tom Newman. Now, without Tom there would be no Mike Oldfield and no Tubular Bells. He is a genius and he liked us and we liked him.
Tom had been partners with Richard Branson and together with others had set up the Virgin. And when Virgin got more established, Richard brought up Manor Studios. The great attraction of the Manor was that the recording studio was in what had been a large outhouse. And being a big stately home, bands could live there with their families while they recorded. There was a full-time catering staff there. The Celebrated Arts Band went there to record a single, Who Do You Think You Are?’ We all took our wives and girlfriends. Mike Oldfield tried to give us one of his huge Afghan hounds – he had six of them! The only thing was that it was so big we couldn’t get it into the car with all the gear. Thank God for that. But the kids were disappointed
The links with Tom Newman were established and we got on very well. He started an album with me, it was all my songs and working with people that I knew. He also offered us session work for other things that he was working on because he knew we were free to do things.