Rowland Jones writes:
Harpoon grew out of Half-Weight.
The original line-up in 1974-5 was:
Jon Ash - vocals and guitar,
Rowland Jones - guitar and vocals
Stefan Leon - bass
Tony Cresswell - drums
Ben (?) - sax
Stefan opted out of the band, and for a brief period - one rehearsal - was replaced by Martin Hannett, who constantly stopped playing and came out with suggestions about using a Tibetan choir and the like, well, it was the 70s. John Gibson also played bass with us. Tony Cresswell was by then involved with Mandalaband with Dave Rohl - vocals, Ashley Mulford - guitar, Vic Emerson - keyboards, John Stimpson - bass which later became Sad Cafe with Ian Wilson- vocals guitar and frontman Paul Young replacing Rohl.
Anyway, I turned up to play one evening and saw the poster reading Harpoon. I though we'd been double booked.
Harpoon's line-up stabilised to:
Jon Ash - vocals, guitar, & keyboards
Rowland Jones - guitar & vocals
John Levenson - Bass
Mike Smith - drums
From October 1975 - July 1976 I reckoned up at the time that we did 150 gigs including backing tours with Limmie and the Family Cookin' and the Exciters - the Exciters arrived three days late - allegedly due to family illness, but actually they were in a card game in Atlantic City. Anyway we had no rehearsals. On tour, we visited Sad Cafe at George Martin's Air London and after a serious night's consumption played the ???. Black Music did a double page spread about the Exciters - we were described as 'unsympathetic and out-of tune...'
Later the Dave Lowarch joined the band on guitar and was later replaced by Pat Donaldson(?), but it was all going wrong. I left.
After various changes in personnel, the band with the addition of former Greasy Bear guitar player- Steve Whalley, signed to Phonogram as The Boss Brothers. They recorded an album but I don't think it was ever released.
During the band's life we did quite a lot of interesting stuff - a lot of support gigs for Sad Cafe, Joe Jackson at the Poly, Tom Robinson Band- played the Marquee, where we met John Peel, who introduced himself with: “I’m John Peel I do a bit of work for the BBC. Just wanted to say how much I liked the band.” And he wrote something very complimentary about us in Sounds the following day. We shared a dressing room with Oscar Peterson at Ronnie Scott’s when he was playing downstairs and we were playing Upstairs at Ronnie’s.
I even had a chat with Don Van Vliet. We were playing the Speakeasy, and somebody pointed out that there was no less a person than the Good Captain sitting at the back of the room. As we doing the ‘get-out’ he spoke to me as he clambered over some flight cases. Those of you familiar with Beefheart will have realised that the conversation was in fact a series of short grunts, from which I extracted the phrase: Nice Gig.