Kris Gray
Kris Gray
Anout Kris Gray
Photo: Brian Harris
About Kris Gray

Kris Gray was born in Barking on 29th September 1952 and became interested in the guitar when he first saw the Beatles on TV, and wanted to be just like John Lennon. Despite the opposition of parents, particularly his father, He eventually bought a cheap Rossetti acoustic guitar from a neighbour and taught himself some chords. There was a boy in the same class as Kris at school who could play drums so together they formed his first band with two others, whom Kris also taught to play. This band ended up as a three piece, called ‘D Series Truck’ but when Kris left school, he left home as well, to join a band based in Earls Court so that was the end of DST.

The Earls Court band didn’t last long but Kris continued to work with the lead guitar player, with him being rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist, Cecil Roberts.  However in 1971 his music career was interrupted by a short holiday at Her Majesties Pleasure, for more on that go to www.twos-up.com When he returned to Earls Court Kris hooked up with Cecil again and they formed Grobbert and Duff with an Irish singer/songwriter by the name of Mick Duffy.

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This line up recorded one single ‘I Am I Think’ b/w ‘The Man From Naz’ the later being a tongue in check slant on the sermon on the mount being joints he gave out rather than loaves and fishes.

It would appear that recently ‘I Am I Think’ has become a cult classic with original copies changing hands for up to 400 Euros! It can also be found on a couple of Psych compilation albums. Needless to say it didn’t make any dent on the charts of the day but it did bring Kris to the attention of the organisers of the Windsor Free Festival. This was where he first met The Edgar Broughton Band who Kris was already a big fan of; it would be another ten years before they crossed paths again.

Due to the lack success with G&D Cecil and Kris parted company. They had been running a folk club in the basement of the Troubadour coffee bar in the Brompton Road. It was there that Kris met folk singer Mike Absalom whom he initially became a roadie for but later progressed to playing bass for him. Mike however wasn’t comfortable with someone else on stage with so Kris was sacked. It was then that he decided to go solo playing guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin and anything else he could get a tune out off.

It was whilst doing solo shows that Mick Duffy contacted him asking if he would play bass in Mick’s new band. So Kris joined the band, initially as a bass player but also singing a lot of the lead vocals. It was then decided to get a bass player and Kris would switch to playing second lead guitar to Kevin, the other guitarist. The band was named Elastic Cat but sadly Mick and Kris couldn’t agree on what direction they should be going so they split with Kevin and Kris keeping the name and trying to continue. They found a manager, who had been working with Mud, made some recordings and played a few gigs. However, the manager wanted them to be more disco and Kris wanted Led Zeppelin so the band folded.

In 1975 Kris met a guitar player, John Spencer, who agreed with him that Peter Green was the best white blues guitarist ever. So when Elastic Cat folded John and Kris formed Hard Road with Heanor Hucknall on bass and Rory O’Carroll on drums. The original idea was to form a hardcore blues band but as Kris wrote most of the material it moved far from being that. One album was recorded in 1980 with the tongue in cheek title of ‘No Problem’ as that was the line the record company man gave to every question he was asked.

John was unhappy with the direction of the band and left, Kris felt he couldn’t replace him so it was decided to carry on as a three piece. Rory left to be a roadie for Secret Affair and in came Bill Collis. A second album was recorded for another record company but it never saw the light of day and left Kris extremely depressed with the way they had been treated as a band and this caused them to split.

Not long after that Kris met a scriptwriter for the BBC who heard one of the unreleased tracks and asked if she could use it for a TV series she was writing. Kris thought they just wanted to use the track but he ended up being musical director of the series ‘After Four’ and re-recording the music with such luminaries as Peter Green and Peter Bardens. Having been conned on his publishing for Hard Road Kris was looking for someone else to look after the BBC music. He was recommended Peter Green’s Brother Mickey through whom he met the man himself. Peter would go on to come and live at Kris’s house for six months and produce some recordings for his new band KGB as well as playing bass on the BBC music and a single for singer Joanne Campbell that Kris had both written and produced (Insert photo F)

It was at a party for Peter’s record company PVK that Kris first met Brian Knight who was having problems with his bass player. Kris went to see the band play and told him that he could do a better job, Brian called his bluff and Kris went on the road with Brian for over two years.

When Brian eventually broke up the band, Kris was finding juggling a music career and being a single parent family difficult so now out of a band he decided to go on the other side of the music business, retail. He eventually opened a record store in Barkingside, Vinyl Village, in 1984. Over the next six years He experimented with a couple of local musicians but nothing serious. Then he did a session with Glen Miller’s brother Herb Miller but not much else until he met a local heavy metal band, Elixir, who asked him to manage them. They formed a publishing company for their songs as there was a new album being released. Kris thought it would be a good idea to find some more artists to manage and record, someone suggested Chris Farlowe who he then contacted in 1990. From that early meeting Kris would go on to spend the next 18 years of his life steering Farlowe’s career from obscurity to the success he is today.

Over the next 15 years Kris also toured with and managed, amongst others, Cliff Bennett, The Sweet, Sonja Kristina, Maggie Bell, John Fiddler, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Roger Chapman Ian Hunter and The Edgar Broughton Band. It was whilst managing Edgar Broughton that their bass player left and Kris stepped in. It was great to play again, although they didn’t do a lot of touring Kris had the performing bug again and formed a duo with good friend Dave Carol, called The Fabulous Gigging Guitar Brothers which was a lot of fun.

Kris first met Miller Anderson www.milleranderson.co.uk in 1992 whilst touring with Chris Farlowe and Maggie Bell. Their paths crossed many times over the next few years until eventually Kris co-produced his 2003 album Bluesheart for his then record label Delicious. Kris also released a number of albums on this label including titles by Chris Farlowe, The Sweet, Darryl Bath, Ian Hunter, Cliff Bennett, Norman Beaker and Steve Diggle. Some of which were recorded in a studio in West London, that Kris co-owned for a while with his son Dylan.

In 2008 Kris produced, for the last time, an album in Germany with Chris Farlowe entitled Hotel Eingang which featured Miller on guitar, Frank Tischer www.frank-tischer.de on keyboards, Paul Burgess on drums and Kris on bass. Although the sessions were more than a little traumatic the band, without Mr Farlowe, agreed to make a new album with Miller. This would become Chameleon and was released on Kris’s new label Rokoko along with Hotel Eingang.

The Miller Anderson Band worked constantly for the next three years with only one change in line up, featuring Tommy Fischer, or Klaus Schenk on drums. They recorded a live double CD last year entitled From Lizard Rock as well as appearing on the prestigious German TV rock music programme Rockpalast.

Kris has also produced two albums by Jay Tamkin, www.jaytamkinband.com ‘Sorted’ and ‘Alibi’ and toured Germany in 2012 playing bass for Jay.

Now, some forty years after the event, Kris wrote a light hearted account of his time in Borstal in 1971. And was published in 2010 more information can be found on the book website where you can buy a signed copy www.twos-up.com. The book has been optioned for a film and Kris has been writing the script, watch this space for updates.

In 2013 Kris was reunited with Tim Wyatt who had been involved with the Grobbert and Duff recording back in 1972 after Record Collector wrote an article about the single. They decided to record an album together, Tim wrote most of the lyrics whilst Kris wrote most of the music. The album ‘Naming the Darkness’ was released in October 2013 more information here.

After a handful of gigs Kris and Tim agree to go their own ways, Kris is currently recording his first solo album and writing music for the film of Two’s Up. He is also writing a new book ‘Don’t Mention the War’ which is an Englishman’s observation of Germany and the Germans, soon to be available as a Kindle book.
So, onwards and upwards, later this year Kris will re-unite with the Miller Anderson Band to record a new album and a full tour in 2015. In the meantime he is involved with a studio in Germany www.boogard.com as a producer and looking for artists to record and produce.

First we take Fulda, then we take Berlin!


2014 is going to be busy, busy, busy...