celebrates the 30th anniversary of the formation of Violinski
by John Hodgson, Mik Kaminski and John Marcangelo
and their successful albeit brief dance with the music charts.
Always more than "one-hit wonders" or an
Electric Light Orchestra side project for ELO
violinist Kaminski, the group recorded two fine albums and
a wealth of previously unreleased material while their history
goes back beyond their 1977 recording debut...
Kaminski & Hodgson
young guns of punk had fast replaced the tired platform-booted
stomp of glam rock with a new, raw music that filled London clubs
with the sound of Doc Martins energetically pogoing but for one
musician in the North of England, an older more traditional form
of footwear was providing songwriting inspiration.
Marcangelo was born and bred in the town of Whitehaven,
situated on the west coast of Cumbria and built on the traditional
industries of mining and shipping. For hundreds of years,
workers in the North had walked to their demanding and at
times dangerous jobs in wooden soled shoes with leather
uppers called clogs. It was no different in Whitehaven and
everyday, the clatter of clogs could be heard as coal miners
made their way to the pits. A different but no less percussive
sound could be heard coming from a small shop in Roper Street,
intriguing a young musician.
MARCANGELO: "As a kid I used to
pass by Brew's clogger's shop, watching Mr Brew hammering away
at his last, making and repairing clogs, and after a while it
just gave me the idea for the 'Clog Dance' piece."
initial inspiration was also fuelled by the clog dance itself,
a two-hundred year old percussive dance that pre-dated tap
dancing. Another influence and one which would later play
an important role in the songs' longevity was the proud
musical heritage of the colliery brass band. For now, studies
beckoned and the opportunity to meet like-minded musicians
at the Leeds College Of Music who not only wanted
to further their skills but create their own music.
just 5 years old, John Hodgson was performing in local orchestras
and brass bands, including the renowned Brighouse and
Rastrick Brass Band. Three years later, he was playing
over five nights a week and during weekends before moving
to the Leeds College to begin his studies in jazz and improvisation
at age 15.
prodigy Mik Kaminski made his first professional appearance
with the Leeds Orchestra at 14 years of age while also
winning early critical acclaim as well as competitions for
his classical playing. Kaminski joined Hodgson and Marcangelo
at the School Of Music and finding they all shared similar
musical ideas, the three soon became friends and set about
forming a band. Cow was an experimental rock group
with influences from Frank Zappa to modern jazz and
classical music and some of the early compositions for the
band would later resurface on Violinski's debut album, 'No
Cause For Alarm'.
KAMINSKI: "We were the only band
apart from Curved Air who used a violin. Unfortunately we were
devoting more energy to the band than to work, with the result
we all got thrown out."
extract taken from 'Clog Dance - The Very
Best Of Clog Dance' sleeve notes by Rob Caiger.