Norman Watt-Roy

Always on the road….

We had the pleasure of Norman’s company the other day at Ashdown HQ, we just took the time to sit and talk about bass, life and touring and also come up with a few little tweaks on a product just for Norm (more on this as it unfolds). Exciting times ahead ; ) Watch this space for a full interview and demo video… 

When Norman was a four year old his family moved to England and settled in Highbury, North London and at eight years of age relocated to Essex where he remained until he left school and moved back to London.

In 1967 he formed 'The Living Daylights' with his brother Garth and released a single on the Philips label called 'Lets Live For Today' and did regular gigs in venues such as The Angel Blues Rooms in Edmonton, London. In 1968 Norman and Garth formed a nine piece soul band and toured U.S. bases in Germany backing American soul singers such as Sonny Burke and played a summer residency at the Maddocks Club in Spain. By this time the band were known as 'The Greatest Show On Earth' and by 1969 had procured a recording deal with Harvest Records leading to the release in February 1970 of a single 'Real Cool World' which was a hit in Europe and reached No.1 in Switzerland. A debut album was to follow entitled 'Horizons' and by 1971 they had put out another single 'Tell The Story' and a second album 'The Goings Easy'.

72 / 73 Norman joined Glencoe and met guitarist John Turnbull. This funky quartet released two albums 'Glencoe' and 'The Spirit of Glencoe' along with three singles and four recorded John Peel radio sessions before breaking up, and in 1974 got together with keyboardist Mick Gallagher to form the nucleus of a band which, with the addition of drummer Charlie Charles, was to be called 'Loving Awareness' (managed by Radio Caroline guru Ronan O' Reilly). It was while doing a session with Charlie for a friend in 1976 that they met Chaz Jankel and Ian Dury and went on to play on the album 'New Boots and Panties'.

The 'Loving Awareness' quartet were later to join up with Chaz and Ian for the first Stiff Tour of U.K. and became known as 'Ian Dury and The Blockheads' releasing two more albums on Stiff and a bevy of singles, achieving No1 status in the U.K. in 1979 with 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' (featuring a dazzling bass line by Norman which can be heard jammed in music shops around the world by aspiring bassists everywhere). It was when Chaz Jankel was replaced for a time in 1980 by Wilko Johnson that a rapport between Norman and Wilko resulted in Norman becoming a regular member of Wilkos' own band by 1985.

During the 1970's and 1980's Norman did session work, appearing on albums such as Nick Lowe's 'Jesus of Cool', Rachel Sweet's 'Fool Around' and Jona Lewie's 'No.1 single 'You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties'. He also made an appearance on Selectors 1981 album 'Celebrate the Bullet' and played on The Clash 'Sandanista' album along with fellow Blockhead Mick Gallagher on keyboards. Norman also put his bass on their 'Cut The Crap' recordings.

In 1983 he provided the original bass line for the 'Frankie Goes To Hollywood' single 'Relax' and in 1984 teammed up with Mickey again for Eric Goulden(Wreckless Eric)s' 'Captains Of Industry' album.

In 2001 Norman completed sessions with members of 'Madness' (with whom he sporadically joined for live work at the time) and the ex producer of Depeche Mode who had recorded him jamming with drummer Steve Monti with plans to sample the results. Since then he has been busy working with Nick Cave on Nick's solo shows (without the Bad Seeds) and continuing to be Wilko Johnson's secret weapon. Which brings us up to date... Where's The Party Norm?

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