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Cadillac Blues Band - The band traces its roots through guitarists Coll Michaels and Kim Rew back to Blues Apex, founded in 1966 by jazzman and composer John Altman in support of a CND fund-raising gig billed with Roy Harper and Stray at the legendary Roundhouse in Chalk Farm.
Charged by the experience, bassist Ian Charles and Coll Michaels enlisted two school friends - guitarist and songwriter Kimberley Rew and drummer Ian Worsfold, carrying the band on to North-West London's lively club circuit. 'Discovery' led to a demo of Kim's classic songs "get Around Stoned", "So Hard to Find" and "Summer Song" in London's Tin-Pan Alley' at Central Sound studios. Mickey Most's subsequent proposal for the band to record and release "Jet Set", an orphaned Herman's Hermits bubble-gum song, was met with abject horror by the band.
Blues Apex's naive and unworldly response was duly noted by the star maker, who subsequently refused to take further telephone calls pleading for a chance to record their own compositions for a culture-starved UK public. Daunted but not defeated, the boys resolved to finish their academic commitments while continuing to convene during odd weekends and college holidays until, not surprisingly, paths diverged.
Kimberley collaborated with his new friends at Cambridge, and the resultant Soft Boys enjoyed a long and successful run, achieving cult status. When the Soft Boys disbanded Kimberley formed Katrina & the Waves, best known for their enduring hit "Walking on Sunshine", which was written by Kim. Since then he has recorded three solo albums and participates in numerous projects with other famous musicians.
Meanwhile, continuing his musical involvement with Chris Cheale and Ian Charles in Great Escape a semi-pro rock and blues band, Coll became a pharmacist and family man. John ("J.C.") Curtis stepped in when Ian announced his retirement from music performance following Chris' untimely death. The band soldiered on for a number of years, with Coll and Phil Swan on guitars, John Curtis on bass and Tom Mautner on drums.
Cadillac Blues Band was born when drummer Brian Scott and bass player Frank Laughton recruited Coll after seeing him play with Smokestack Blues Band , a lively little outfit put together with teachers at his daughters' school for a benefit concert. Very loud and hard-hitting, the new Cadillac trio quickly became well-known in the proliferation of blues clubs and pubs of 1990's Herts, Beds and Bucks. Frank and Brian left to form another band and were replaced by faithful pal John Curtis on bass, and a seemingly endless procession of 'borrowed' drummers, which included Terry Wilson, Paul Hornsby, Joe Coulson, and then an old schooldays friend - Roland Kerridge. The need to constantly adapt to the different rhythmic interpretations presented by this constantly changing line-up created and honed an extraordinary musical trust and partnership between John and Coll - this is why the band always sounds so 'tight'. Roland was persuaded to join as resident percussionist in 1996 and the band has benefitted from his superb drumming since then, although Paul or Terry (etc, etc,!) still step in from time to time when Roly is on tour elsewhere.
The Cadillac core band is often augmented by other musicians. These additional guitar players have included the legendary Pete West, Ray Uren, Pete Wood, and the awesome Nigel Spennewyn. Keyboards have been contributed by Paul Hirsh, Richard Henningham and Hilary Briggs. The band have also provided backing for Polly Browne - of "Same Old Feeling" chart-topping renown.
Occasionally, the founder of the original Blues Apex band - Emmy-Award winner John Altman, pays a visit with his soprano saxophone. This constant flux of talent keeps the sound of the band fresh and exciting and a source of continuing pleasure for its participants, and sometimes, the audience!
The Return of Rew
Out of contact for 30 years, Coll finally got hold of Kim's phone number from Stephen Games, a friend reunited at a school reunion, and in 2002 the current line-up coalesced. Kim has woven his ringing, imaginative and harmonic playing into Cadillac's smoky, bluesy riffs - and hearing these guys together on stage is powerful and uplifting. In spite of a busy studio and touring schedule, Kim travels down from Cambridge and seldom misses a gig, often accompanied by his partner, bass player and singer-songwriter Lee Cave-Berry, to play and sing on rock'n'roll fun classics such as "Round and Around" and "Yaketty-Yak".
Cadillac Blues is more than a band - it's a complex interaction of enduring musical friendships.