Sunday, March 25, 2007

Parchment's last member

We've been privileged to hear from Pete Yates-Round, the last band member to join Parchment.

Pete has answered a number of questions for us and also given an account of his time with Parchment and how he came to join the band. It's a great story. We'll report on some of his other answers in the future - as they relate to other topics covered on this site.

Pete places the band's last gig, and effective end, at the Greenbelt Festival in summer 1978, when they ended with a rousing performance of Light Up the Fire.

We asked Pete what it was like playing with Parchment.

His reply: "A fantastic experience: It was a great blessing and honour to be involved with such great people as Sue and John. I think it is fair to say we pushed the boundaries of Christian music during our time together. I know I came in at the tail end but my time with the band was the most concentrated and rewarding time. I met and worked with the best and hopefully the albums which I worked on with the others will stand the test of time and be an inspiration to others.

"As for our public and fans? Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant! The lasting memory of Parchment will always be the final Greenbelt gig when we sang as final farewell 'Light up The Fire' and 30,000 people sang the entire song back to us!"

Pete told us how he came to join the band. Here's his story:
"I think that it is safe to say that Parchment helped change the way that Christian music was accepted by an older Christian generation that was struggling to understand the then modern music culture.

"I remember seeing Parchment from afar at the Festival of Light concert in Hyde Park when they were appearing with Gordon Giltrap and others. I really felt inspired to go back to my church youth group and start writing and singing songs of a more contemporary nature. The Christian music revolution had begun; we suddenly had a bridge that connected our secular tastes with our worship music. We were able to express our beliefs and feelings with our own musical styles. Suddenly we had Christian 'pop stars' and although there was suspicion from some of the older Christian folk that this would lead us all away from the light, others were delighted that suddenly more young people were joining congregations across the country.

"Apart from my local performances in my home town Tonbridge, my Christian musical career really leapt forward when I was asked to join the Christian band Narnia, fronted by the couple Pauline and Jack Filby. We all lived at Cliff Richards house in Little Dunmow, Essex which he donated as a Christian Arts Centre and which was run by Jack and Pauline.

"These were great days as I was able to write and play with great musicians as John Russell (Starship,ATF) Tim Hatwell and of course the hugely talented Pete Banks (After the Fire). We rubbed shoulders with Cliff and guests which included, Mick Abrahams (Blodwyn Pig) Tony Rivers (Strawbs) and even Eric Clapton.

"It was whilst working with Narnia I was first exposed to TV, Radio and appearances at such venues as Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's, The Marquee club and the famous Concerts in St Pauls Cathedral.

"I then had the opportunity of joining an international rock youth group named Credo, (this is where I met and worked with Jan van Srallen, lead guitarist with Whitsuntide Easter, we became firm friends, and it was my influence to include them and new band Voiz onto the Grapevine label) which was based in Holland but then toured Europe and the USA. At 17 (1973) this was a real adventure for me, so I joined and so began my love of being on the road, I lived out of a suitcase for the next eight years.

"After my tour with Credo, I returned to Holland and started to work on the Youth for Christ coffee bar circuit. The Dutch loved the English Christian musicians, and I toured with some great acts, such as Fish Co, Nutshell and of course Parchment.

"I worked for two weeks in Steenwijk with Sue, John, Nick, and Brian as their support and naturally we all got to know each other extremely well. We would jam together and I was overawed that these guys really appreciated my music.

"To complicate matters I was talent spotted by the then CBS label one night and put under contract. The terms insisted that I stay in Holland and wait for my turn to be groomed. I had no real desire to stay and wanted to get back to England and re-establish contact with Sue and John. I did a bunk, and met up with the band in Covent Garden, Brian had decided to leave and they needed a third person for the Chepstow gig. I naturally obliged, and that was the start of the new era."

He added: "You will notice that during those early years a lot of the most gifted and musically influential young Christians' emerged. Paul Field, Steve Rowles, Steve Fairney, Mo Macaferty, Mal Grolsh and many others helped influence and inspire a whole succession of generations to give Christ inspired music the recognition and acceptance that it needed to prove an effective witness."

Pete still lives in Bristol where the band was based in its final years.

He told us: "I stayed in Bristol met my wife and have two grown up girls. I have had a succesfull time in the motorcar business and now work as a consultant to several Prestige manufacturers. I also have a magazine which is just coming up to its first anniversary. I am still involved with the local village Church and community. I keep in regular contact with my great mate Nick Ryan (Bass player writer and producer) and spend quite a lot of time at his mountain home and studio in Kerry South West Ireland writing and recording."


pf said...

Narnia's Aslan is not a Tame Lion recently sold for nearly £70 on Ebay after 19 bids. It's a remarkable album (I've got a later reissue copy) and is also supposed to beavailable on CD. There's also a download available on one of the music blogs.

Aadiahh said...

I also stayed in the house of Cliff Richard, invited by Pauline Filby.
I totally lost touch with her.
Is she still alive?
Whatever happened?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am trying to write an article about the Rev Jack Filby and the Arts Centre at Battailes, Great Easton, if anyone can help, its for a Remember When looking back feature. Regards, Steve Clow or try 07850 4534764

pf said...

Folks I've had a chat with Steve. Very much looking forward to reading his article! If anyone can help please contact him

pf said...

And here is the link to Steve's article Rockin' Reverend gave refuge to Cliff's star pals