Sussex Sounds: Reflecting music of the greats

The Reflections band SUS-140105-155820001
The Reflections band SUS-140105-155820001

Supergroup The Reflections are coming to Horsham with a wealth of experience and a catalogue of tunes to die for

They are a rare breed, supergroups – the principle is similar to a league of crime-fighting superheros, but instead you have musicians joining forces from big name rock bands.

Other powerful band fusions that come to mind include Asia, comprising progressive rock gods of Yes, King Crimson, ELP and The Buggles. And, of course, The Travelling Wilburys, rounding up George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

Now, a new supergroup has come together to take on the UK with an impressive background that spans the 1960s through to the present day.

With members of The Moody Blues, The Hollies, Cliff Richard’s band, 10cc and The Manfreds in one union, you are pretty much unstoppable.

In fact, the stadium players formed The Reflections a few years ago, so not so new, but the response from fans has been incredible, as founding member and drummer Gordy Marshall of The Moody Blues says.

“Music is a bit like a time machine. A lot of our audience are baby boomers, they hear this music and it takes them back to when they first fell in love, or when they first got married, and it just flicks a switch in the brain and we’re the lucky ones up on stage who get the applause.”

The vocalist and guitarist has been touring with The Moody Blues since the 1990s, but Gordy admits that he was not starstruck when he first joined the hit band.

In the space of a few weeks he auditioned for Tears for Fears, Midge Ure and George Michael before coming to Justin Hayward and his Birmingham-born band.

“The Moody Blues was the one that I got, but it wasn’t that unnerving. I’m not trying to sound blasé, but because I didn’t know the band was as big as they were it didn’t throw me. It wasn’t until I started to play them and hear their songs, and I thought oh my god, this is them.”

When the band began to play Nights in White Satin, Gordy knew he was a part of something historically significant in the music industry.

“That’s a very special song, and to sit in a room and play it with the people who composed it without anybody else listening is rather surreal.

“To be honest, they’re just a bunch of Birmingham grammar school guys that have done extremely well and they are gentleman.”

As the other founding members of the band are approaching their ’70s, touring is still going strong with Gordy fresh from the Caribbean, but when not on the road, the 54-year-old wanted to fill in the quieter months and decided to get in touch with a few friends.

The Reflections line up includes Paul Bliss of The Hollies, Marcus Cliffe of The Manfreds, Huw Davies of The War of the Worlds and Mick Wilson of 10cc.

Mick has been in the industry since he was a child and came to know Gordy through the ever-expanding network of working musicians.

“It was kind of Gordy’s baby,” explains Mick. “It’s really about this long standing problem that musicians like us have. We finish a tour, even if it’s with a big band, but when the tour finishes you’re unemployed the next morning and waiting for the next gig to come through, and he thought wouldn’t it be great to have a project that we could pick up when everybody’s not busy.”

Featuring big hits from their respective bands, the concerts are an instant crowd pleaser that is described as a ‘trip down memory lane’.

“What’s nice about the band is that we do some numbers from everybody’s band – we’ll do five Moody Blues song, five from Cliff Richard, some from 10cc. I get to sing ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ by The Hollies, a tune I’ve always loved. Normally in my day job I sing 10cc songs all the time, so given the opportunity to sing other people’s material has been really good, really fun.”

Touring the world as 10cc’s lead vocalist/guitarist and playing the big hits ‘Donna’, ‘Wall Street Shuffle’ and ‘The Dean and I’, Mick says it’s easy to forget the impact these tracks have had on people’s lives.

“With things like ‘I’m Not in Love’ which is a love song, even though it sounds like an anti love song. People will come up and say in 1977 I proposed to my wife to that song. In the band there is a responsibility because you go out and do the songs as best you can because they mean so much to people.”

Approached by a member of The Tremeloes when he was just a child, Mick went from playing small gigs around Essex with his older brother, to taking on the masses across the UK with the pop group, while juggling school.

“I started playing to a bunch of snotty-nosed kids at the community centre on an estate in Barking and ended up going into a proper recording studio, which I’d only dreamed of.”

In a brief stint with a band called Flame, some time after, Mick found himself at the famous Abbey Road Studios.

“At the time I was 14 and I didn’t understand the gravity of what I was doing and where I was standing – in the middle of Studio 2 that The Beatles used.”

Now Mick and Gordy are touring the UK as The Reflections and the supergroup is coming to Horsham’s Capitol this month to bring to you the best in British rock and pop.

l Book tickets now to see The Reflections at The Capitol, Horsham, on May 16. Tickets cost £18.50 each. Call the box office on 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.