© Dave Ling - September 2002 - previously published in CLASSIC ROCK magazine
Daniel Bowes and Luke Morley first met in 1975 during a pre-term interview day at Haberdashers’ Aske’s, a grammar school in the south London suburb of New Cross. Although both were just 11 years old at the time, it was to be a significant encounter.
More than a quarter of a century later, the pair still play music together.
“I’ll never forget that day as long as I live,” reminisces Bowes now. “My mother had made me get my hair cut for the interview; until that point I’d been growing my barnet almost down to my arse after my head was shaved by a blind pensioner in an air raid shelter when I was eight.
At the interview, who should sit next to me but this boy here” – he nods across the table at Morley – “with loads of very, very long red hair. I whispered to my mother, ‘Look, he’s got long hair’, and she replied that he wouldn’t get in. But on the first day of term there he was, looking the same. What a mug I was, getting mine cut.”
“My first thoughts of Danny were that he was short and aggressive, but also very funny,” says Luke. “The first time we actually spoke was in an argument over a stool in the science lab.”
Although Messrs Bowes and Morley were in the same class, they didn’t strike up a friendship till three years later. By that time Luke was in a band, which Danny managed to elbow his way into after claiming – falsely, as it happened – that he owned a microphone. Coincidentally, the frontman forced aside to accommodate the group’s latest recruit was none other then Malcolm McKenzie, who later managed Thunder.
“And so,” grins Morley, “for the first of many times, I fired Malcolm.”
“But he took three weeks to pluck up courage,” Danny adds. “I eventually had to say that unless they told him, I would do so. Even then they didn’t like firing him, so they made him their bass player instead.”
With the addition of drummer Chris Hussey, Nuthin’ Fancy were formed and the next four years were spent gigging all over the south London circuit, also releasing the now extremely rare independent single, ‘Looking For A Good Time’. When the rhythm section quit, bassist Nick Linden and drummer Gary ‘Harry’ James stepped in and Terraplane were born, naming themselves a vintage car.
“I’d been in a rival band called Moontier, and my first impression of Danny and Luke was how cocky they were,” remembers James. “They knew where they wanted to go, they were well organised and they seemed to have the talent to back it up.”
“We were never short on confidence,” nods Bowes. “Blind ambition was what drove us. Our first band were complete rubbish, but we were convinced we were gonna take over the world. I remember my then girlfriend’s mother telling me we were diabolical, and in that instant she went from being a really nice person that I quite fancied in a secret way to being the worst woman in the world. Everyone else was entitled to their opinion, but to us it was always going to be irrelevant.”
“He’d just say, ‘Do it louder and faster, and I’ll mix the drinks’”
Luke Morley on working with Duran’s Andy Taylor
A ruthless hunger for success ensured that they’d do just about anything necessary to further their cause. Danny laughs: “The birds who worked at the Marquee’s offices… we went through all of those. We’d do anything that was required to help the band.”
An appearance at 1982’s Reading Festival was among Terraplane’s first breaks, as was being taken under the wing of one-time Kinks manager Robert Wace. The following year they issued a debut single, ‘I’m The One’, via the independent City Records, and within 12 months had been snapped up by Epic Records. It was to be a turbulent liaison. Epic clearly believed they’d signed a pop act with rock tendencies, and towards the relationship’s end there ensued an incredible tug-of-war. That said, Terraplane were seduced by Epic’s initial optimism, and before the release of their 1985 debut, ‘Black And White’, Morley informed me with a straight face that he believed the album could yield as many hit singles as Blondie’s ‘Parallel Lines’.
Black guitarist and king birder Rudi Riviere joined the same year (thus enabling them to label their records: ‘Terraplane is an equal opportunities group’), but the change proved to be purely cosmetic.
“Rudi was a nutter for the birds, he’d have fucked the hair on a barber shop floor,” states an incredulous Danny. “Seriously, the man had his own diving board. When we did gigs with him he spent more time at the front of the stage giving out his phone number than he actually did playing!”
Various band images came and went, including a teddy boy look and a colourful array of outsized garments that became known as their Andy Pandy suits. By 1987, Terraplane themselves didn’t seem to know whether they were a rock or a pop band.
Though not without sporadic moments of defiance like ‘I Will Come Out Fighting’, their ‘Moving Target’ swansong was best summed up by such formulaic horrors as ‘Good Thing Going’.
“As was the fashion of the era, Epic thought, ‘Give ’em all a terrible mullet, stick ’em with a pop producer and see what happens’, and it was our own weak management and naïveté that let them do that to us,” maintains Morley now. “Halfway through the ‘Moving Target’ album I realised it was a complete mistake, but by then it was too late.”
It was something that Bowes and Morley swore they would never allow to happen to them again. After ties with Epic were finally cut, the pair flew on a shoestring budget first to New York, then to Los Angeles to get a vibe of what was happening on the other side of the pond.
“In LA, Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe and LA Guns were all happening, there was a real scene going on – unlike in London,” recalls Luke. “We found it so energising that people were listening to rock music there.”
By this point Morley had already written ‘Dirty Love’ (a song you’ll hear more about later), and Terraplane had played it live with newly recruited keyboard player Ben Matthews. They’d even hooked up with their eventual producer, ex-Duran Duran/Powerstation guitarist Andy Taylor, and manager Malcolm McKenzie. But a final clearout was still required.
A crystalising moment came to Morley, Bowes and McKenzie at a Lita Ford show in London. The ex-Runaways guitarist had been supporting on Bon Jovi’s European tour, but had added a headline date at the Marquee Club.
“Jon and Richie Sambora came out to play an encore with Lita, and the place went absolutely nuts,” recalls Luke. “Right away, I nudged Malcolm and said, ‘Right, let’s go over the St Moritz [infamous after-hours watering hole] afterwards… let’s sort this thing out. So we sat down and decided exactly what we were gonna do – bluesy rock ‘n’ roll – which is what we should always have done.”
“Luke and I got it right away, but the others didn’t know what we were talking about,” Danny adds. “Going to see Dan Reed Network was another big moment, but again the others were saying, ‘Yeah, but there are too many samples’. Who gave a fuck? We knew something immense going on, and that we needed to go up several gears to be a part of it.”
After seven years suddenly Terraplane were no more, which understably devastated Nick Linden (they subsequently reconciled with the bassist), but Danny and Luke had to be ruthless. Opting for the somewhat clichéd moniker of Thunder for their new project, various drummers were tried out before Harry James returned. Ben Matthews, too, was invited on board, and bassist Mark Luckhurst – nicknamed ‘Snake’ due to his implausibly thin hips – put behind him his shady past as a backing muso for one hit wonder Owen Paul (of ‘My Favourite Waste Of Time’ fame) to complete the team.
From the very start, Thunder had a very precise idea of how they wanted to be marketed, and as everybody’s hair grew and wardrobes of leather stage gear expanded, Morley tapped in to mine a rich seam of 70s-influenced hard rock for their spectacular early repertoire. Influenced by all that was great about Bad Company, Humble Pie and, to a lesser extent, Led Zeppelin, Luke began to augment ‘Dirty Love’ with ‘Don’t Wait For Me’, ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘She’s So Fine’ (the latter co-penned with Taylor).
"As the automatic door opened, Harry's whole body convulsed and
evil-looking bright orange vomit spewed forth"
A deal with EMI was in place by the time of the band’s inaugural public performance, at the miniscule Opera On The Green in London’s Shepherds Bush in July of 1989. There were rave reviews of the show, which concluded with Andy Taylor joining them for a riotous encore of The Faces’ ‘Stay With Me’. When it came to cutting an album, frustrated rocker Taylor brought a party atmosphere into the studio. “He’d just say, ‘Do it louder and faster, and I’ll mix the drinks’, because he knew we had it in us,” laughs Morley now. “Taylor was our attitude manager, and the fact that we were having fun permeated our work. And underneath it all we knew that if it didn’t work this time we’d be off to the Job Centre.”
Any such fears vanished with the release of ‘Back Street Symphony’. One of the all-time great hard rock debuts, it was greeted with critical rapture in 1990. Playing every show like it was their last, Thunder were lucky to hitch their wagons to major tours with Aerosmith and Heart and played numerous headline club dates, but it wasn’t until an opening spot in front of 72,000 at that summer’s Castle Donington festival (on a bill completed by Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Poison and the Quireboys) that anybody – let alone the group – realised how popular they’d become. As the fateful day approached, somebody had left the air conditioning running overnight on the tour bus.
Bowes realised his voice was shot, resulting in a series of nasty injections. A Harley Street doctor told him to remain completely silent for three days, and right until the moment of truth nobody had been certain whether or not the miracle remedy would work.
“Everyone else had done the soundcheck, I almost shat myself when I walked onto that stage,” he recollects. “It was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy; this could be the beginning for us – even the punters seemed to know it. And I hadn’t even sung aloud to myself, because I was too scared. So when it worked, the release of energy was almost frightening.”
“I was looking down at my guitar when we opened with ‘She’s So Fine’, and when the riff rang out there was this huge roar,” Luke agrees. “It was so bloody enormous, I looked over my shoulder to see whether someone else had followed us out. The adrenalin was pumping so much, apart from that I don’t remember the show at all.”
Thunder had graduated from a Shepherds Bush boozer to headlining three nights at Hammersmith Odeon in just 15 months, shifting 100,000 copies of their debut album in the process. In America, Cinderella manager Larry Mazer had taken up their affairs and A&R legend John Kalodner, who’d caught Thunder’s Donington set on the radio whilst en route with Aerosmith to the show, succumbed to the lobbying of Guns N’ Roses singer W Axl Rose, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Whitesnake leader David Coverdale and signed the band.
“I gave an Oscar-winning performance as a guy who was afraid his band was gonna break up.
The whole thing was made up.”
Danny Bowes on the 'Luke to join Whitesnake' rumours
Luke and Danny had learned of Axl Rose’s interest in Thunder during a visit to the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Los Angeles. After spotting Axl dining with a girlfriend, the next several hours were spent deep in conversation. And later, as everybody exited onto Sunset Boulevarde, Rose even revealed a copy of ‘Back Street Symphony’ in his car stereo.
“He’d given me the thousand yard stare until I told him I was in Thunder, but he and his missus came and sat at our table, and we talked for three or four hours,” relates Morley. “It was a fascinating conversation, mainly about English music. He had some interesting theories. When anyone tells me now that Axl Rose is a complete nutter, I find it quite hard to believe based upon that conversation. He’s a very bright lad, and I wonder how much of his madness is contrived.”
But Thunder were to be plagued with ill fortune. Plans to tour the US with David Lee Roth were scuppered by the ex-Van Halen singer’s cancellation, and although some 250,000 copies of ‘Back Street Symphony’ found American homes, it amounted to chickenfeed while other acts were shifting millions. The band had spent so long touring the debut that there was little time to write a follow-up, and because of Mike Fraser’s work with Thunder and Aerosmith had made him so popular they waited around in vain for the in-demand engineer.
With pressure around them mounting, the band found time to let off steam and in June 1991 played a now legendary one-off secret show at Tramshed Theatre in London as Danny & The Doo-Wops. ‘Laughing On Judgement Day’ finally emerged in August of 1992, and although not quite as indispensable as its predecessor, the double set nevertheless housed the Top 40 hits ‘Low Life In High Places’, ‘Everybody Wants Her’, ‘A Better Man’ and ‘Like A Satellite’. Even Morley now admits that it was “an indulgence” to have recorded 20 songs and selected 14 favourites.
A North American tour with Iron Maiden followed, during which time Thunder were openly courted by Maiden’s manager Rod Smallwood, though they remained loyal to Malcolm McKenzie. And there was a second appearance at Castle Donington, again on a bill topped by Steve Harris and company. On top of all this, the spectre of the Seattle explosion was just emerging. The pair can now address Thunder’s decision to spurn Smallwood with hindsight, but they remain uncertain they’d have done anything differently.
“I liked Rod Smallwood as a bloke, but I wouldn’t have wanted him as my manager,” Danny comments. “I didn’t feel he understood what we were about.”
“It’s swings and roundabouts,” professes Luke. “Going with a big company like Smallwood or Q Prime [who represent Metallica] would’ve opened doors, but although Malcolm didn’t have their level of experience, his enthusiasm and commitment to the cause was invaluable at the start. We did eventually part company with him, but it was at the right time.”
And Luke adds: “For me, the biggest negative factor to affect our career was not who was managing us, but the arrival of grunge.”
Turning a blind eye to such perils, Thunder set about enjoying their newfound popularity. After the lean Terraplane years, all forms of rock ‘n’ roll decadence – groupies in particular – were grasped at every available opportunity. Condoms were introduced to their backstage rider, and a bizarre method of scoring, based on the golfing par system, was instigated. Each band member had to get lucky at least once on every night of the tour, otherwise they’d be one under par. I travelled with Thunder a lot around this time and recall a certain band member being two under par at the start of the evening, but claiming to be four above by the time he came down to breakfast the next day.
“On one particular tour we’d vowed to get 100 points, and a version of Churchill’s ‘England expects every man to do his duty’ speech was trotted out in the bar,” says Danny. “But we were drinking for England as well,” guffaws Morley, “and as everybody knows that those two pastimes aren’t always compatible.”
Such antics were a welcome diversion from the uncertainty of the group’s career, and Thunder’s first line-up change arrived in late ’92 when Snake was sacked after a Japanese tour. Although the rift was later mended, and the bassist briefly played with the David Coverdale-Jimmy Page alliance, the straw that broke the camel’s back was a regrettable incident involving Harry James’ birthday cake and Classic Rock lensman Ross Halfin.
“Things had been brewing for six months,” recalls Luke. “Ross wanted to photograph Danny and I alone, so he told the rest of the band to fuck off, as only Halfin can do. So Snake later decided Ross should end up wearing Harry’s cake. Nobody could quite believe it, but to his credit Ross took it pretty well, passing the remains of this cake to his assistant and continuing with the session.”
The first that Bowes, who had retired to the non-smoking dressing room next door, knew of the incident was when Halfin stormed in and informed the singer that he’d only refrained from flooring the bassist on account of their friendship. Danny beams as he recalls informing the snapper: “Don’t hold back on my account, mate.”
Over the next couple of years, the all-consuming success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam made life very difficult indeed for bands like Thunder (who’d been joined by Swedish bassist Mikael Höglund). Indeed, column inches became so rare that Morley and Bowes now claim to have hatched a plan to generate invaluable press coverage. The way they tell the story now is that they ‘leaked’ an attempt by David Coverdale to poach Morley for Whitesnake, thus causing a serious rift.
“We fanned all that up ourselves,” laughs Luke, who incidentally remains in contact with Coverdale about the possibility of future work. “I don’t even know how it started, we just gave it a little nudge here and there to keep it going. Someone from his band even said I’d been rehearsing in Los Angeles with them, when I’d been in Portugal playing golf with Harry!”
“In an interview with a certain writer, I gave an Oscar-winning performance as a guy who was afraid his band was gonna break up,” offers Danny. “The whole thing was made up.”
Press and radio apathy were cunningly offset by Thunder’s policy of playing annual and very extensive tours of the UK. And although their next album, 1995’s ‘Behind Closed Doors’, was to be their last for EMI, it was nevertheless a Top Five release that offered further hit singles in ‘River Of Pain’ and ‘Castles In The Sand’. Well aware of their crowd-pulling capacity, Bon Jovi invited them play two shows at Wembley Stadium. After the greatest hits collection ‘Their Finest Hour (And A Bit)’, the band temporarily became a quartet with the loss of Höglund, severed ties with Malcolm McKenzie and hopped labels to Castle Communications offshoot Raw Power for ‘The Thrill Of It All’ in ’96.
New Labour had been preceded into power by a typically buoyant Thunder anthem called ‘Welcome To The Party’ (“Welcome to the party, there’s a new kid in town/Looking like a million, gonna bring our burden down”), but deeper moments like ‘Pilot Of My Dreams’ and ‘Hotter Than The Sun’ confirmed the maturing of their sound. Yet proud as Thunder (and their new recruit, ex-Then Jericho/Go West bassist Chris Childs) were of their status as a band of the people, they soon discovered that it didn’t cut both ways. While the audience lapped up the more cabaret moments of their live performance, it became increasingly difficult to remind some that they were serious. That said, ‘The Thrill Of It All’ still sold 30,000 copies in just a month.
“When anyone tells me that Axl Rose is a complete nutter, I find it quite hard to believe”
In 1997, they moved across to Eagle Records for their first official live album, the deceptively titled ‘Live’, while Morley played some gigs with Taylor in the reformed Powerstation. Indeed, because Thunder’s own tours continued to attract large crowds – in terms of bums on seats they easily outsold more fashionable names like The Black Crowes – they kept adding new dates, and Luke spent much of that year on the road.
Little did anyone outside Thunder’s inner circle suspect that the band’s fifth album, 1999’s ‘Giving The Game Away’, would be their swansong. Although still signed to Eagle, they’d become weary of the label hopping and also perhaps of the overbearing expectations of their audience. Musical tastes were changing, and although Morley had very gently attempted to integrate his love of Steely Dan into their sound on ‘…Thrill…’, there were disapproving murmurs from the fans.
“Did we tour too much? Certainly we became stuck in a bit of rut,” Luke muses now. “For about three years it had felt like we were wading through treacle. Live attendances were still incredible, but it became a bit of an albatross. We’d never happened in America, and that made it worse because had we done so could’ve gone there for eight weeks each year and kept out of the faces of the British public a bit more.”
On Guy Fawkes Night of 1999, a statement was issued. “After a great deal of exploration, discussion and soul searching, we have decided to split up,” it revealed. “The reasons are many and complex, but to cut a long story short, we feel we have no choice. We must stress that this decision is due to outside business forces and not down to any personal or musical differences within the band.” There was to be a final UK tour, but Thunder would no longer be attempting to add to their impressive tally of 16 Top 40 hits.
“It was a simple matter of economics,” shrugs Danny, who first voiced everyone’s doubts. “We were finding it increasingly hard to find a record company that would allow us to compete. Throughout the last two years of Thunder, I’d been considering a way of stopping.”
“There was no way to expand,” Luke concurs. “And in that position, things can only get worse. We didn’t want to end up playing at the Dog & Duck in ten years – it seemed right to get out while we could still do a good job of selling out theatres.”
“We were probably guilty of stagnating,” admits Harry James. “By the time it as all over I was quite happy because it meant I might have some new challenges. And fortunately that’s been the case. That said, playing with other bands has only made me realise what a fucking great set of musicians Thunder were.”
There were scenes of great sadness on the farewell tour, which lasted into the following year and were encapsulated by the double live ‘They Think It’s All Over… It Is Now’ concert set. Afterwards, Morley released ‘El Gringo Loco’, an underrated debut solo album that finally allowed him to wear his classic rock influences on his sleeve. He also gigged in the UK and Japan with a band featuring Harry James, Ben Matthews and Chris Childs. To all intents and purposes, Bowes vanished completely from the business, which was exactly what he wanted. Uncomfortable with being recognised in public, Danny effectively retired from performing until two labels began asking him to make a solo album.
Even before the demise of Thunder, it had been rumoured that Danny Bowes would make a solo record. Obviously, the fact that Luke Morley wrote the lion’s share of Thunder’s material presented a problem, but it also made the prospect more interesting. After the band’s farewell shows, Bowes found out he’d been contracted to EMI to deliver an album since 1996, and there were further loud demands from the Japanese market.
“But because I was so used to working with Luke, I just couldn’t find a partner,” explains Danny. “So I went back to EMI, told ’em I was fed up with the whole process, and would they mind allowing me out of the deal. Fortunately, they agreed. But the Japanese just wouldn’t leave me alone, and one night after a few drinks I ended up mentioning it to Luke…”
“Luke and Danny have always been perfectly matched. They should probably get married…”
Along with a cast including celebrated soul diva Linda ‘It’s In His Kiss’ Lewis and her sister Dee, the pair have created a sassy little grower of an album that nods its hat towards Al Green, The Doobie Brothers, Otis Redding and Steely Dan. With a pair of UK shows confirmed (see On The Road) and some positive reviews of ‘Moving Swiftly Along’ secured, Bowes & Morley are enjoying their fresh start. Inevitably, some people just won’t get it. Bowes in particular couldn’t look anything less like a ‘rock god’ if he tried, and dissenting voices in the Classic Rock office have wondered why the duo don’t just get back to what they do best – playing bluesy hard rock.
“I never really felt comfortable with that image,” objects Danny. “And with each Thunder album it became more tortuous to tour, partially because I wasn’t getting any younger. I always felt pressure because it was the big, hard rock numbers that everybody wanted to hear, and I refused to dip out of the difficult notes. I’d rather die trying than cheat the audience.
“Luke was also feeling slightly limited towards the end of Thunder,” he adds. “Fans would tell you after the show that they wished you’d keep on making the same record over and over again. That was the last thing on our minds. Besides, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my big moment was back then. Now I’m quite happy to make a nice record – okay, maybe it’s one with minority appeal – but I’m not looking to set the world on fire anymore. I want to make a record that pleases me.”
“There’s no pressure on us to pursue any particular direction, we can do exactly what we like,” echoes Morley. “I was recently told it sounded like Hall & Oates, which was surprising. Someone else said Mike + The Mechanics, which of course I objected to. But people seem to like it, and if so then who knows… we could make another.”
The secret behind Danny and Luke’s partnership is that each individual’s role has been carefully defined. Besides being the owner of an inspirational voice, Bowes was always the outfit’s organisational brains, and Luke the creative spark. And competition has never been on the agenda.As previously alluded, the pair have tried to work apart, and been found wanting. After 32 years of musical collaboration, might they proceed for as long as, say, Jagger and Richards? Having been through thick and thin with his vocalist and guitarist, Harry James is the man best to answer the above question. "Those two have always been perfectly matched, and there's a mutual respect," reckons the drummer, adding with a knowing wink: "They should probably get married..."
While the guitarist and vocalist have busied themselves with Bowes & Morley, James himself kept busy playing with Magnum and Paul Young. However, the subject of a Thunder reunion is rarely far away, and the news that Bowes and Morley are collaborating again (with Harry co-writing a song on their new ‘Moving Swiftly Along’ album) will only rake up the coals. Not that anybody’s denying the possibility.
“When most bands who’ve had an 11-year career split up, it’s usually because they want to kill each other,” shrugs Luke in conclusion. “We’re still friends. So we’d be unwise to write off the possibility. We just had to get right away from it for a while… maybe it’d be nice to do it again at some point.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
IS IT A BIRD? A BULLET TRAIN? A STREET-FIGHTING MAN? No, it’s Thunder’s loony drummer Harry James
We asked Luke Morley and Danny Bowes to relate their favourite stories about Thunder’s eccentric percussionist and Crystal Palace supporter, Gary ‘Harry’ James.
Luke: “One morning after the night before in Tokyo we travelled by Bullet Train to Osaka. H was in a terrible state, and on the way to the station he threw up a full litre of orange juice into a plastic bag. On the platform, a fan approached for an autograph. H passed the punter the still-full plastic bag and proceeded to sign the guy’s albums.
“The train arrived, H took back the puke-filled bag – anybody else would have left the hapless punter with the offending bag! – and stepped onboard. A young Japanese girl greeted him. As the automatic door opened, H’s whole body convulsed and evil-looking bright orange vomit spewed forth. Trying not to soak this poor girl, he turned his head left and sent another stream into the First Class carriage, which was populated by horrified businessmen. Time stood still for a couple of seconds and then H looked up, wiped his mouth and said, ‘Sorry about that, I don’t feel very well’, then took his seat, lit up a B&H and said, ‘That’s better’.”
Danny: “Luke had the idea of getting Harry to play a song as the first encore at Hammersmith Odeon - just him and an acoustic guitar. But the plan still needed a twist, so we hooked him to wires and flew him around the stage. We nailed it in production rehearsals, but when it came to the show, the man controlling the wires was blind drunk. At the cue for lift off… nothing happened. Then a split second later it did, but much too fast!
“Harry shot into the air like a firework, then careered back and forth and up and down, bouncing off the walls – all taking place 20 feet up. Imagine a rag doll on a string, holding a guitar and being continually whipped left and right. The fans thought it was all planned, and it was truly hilarious to watch... if you didn’t know. Harry was eventually lowered and though badly shaken, carried it off like the insane professional he is. The ‘Alcoholic Wire Man’ was duly fired without pay. My only regret’s that I didn’t get it on video.”
Luke: “We were in Osaka, having it large in the Hard Rock Café. Snake’s days were numbered and we all knew it, so there was a certain amount of tension. H had once again distinguished himself at the bar, downing copious amounts of strawberry daiquiri, and on the 200 yards or so back to the hotel he suddenly became very aggressive. Inexplicably, he tried to land a punch on Danny, who with minimal effort sidestepped, sending ‘Street Fighting Man’ – as he came to be known – arse over tit into the gutter. The following day’s gig was possibly our worst ever. Wanting to finish quickly, H played everything double speed, thus avoiding the ignominy of vomiting on stage.”
The official Thunder website
Timing-wise, this story was pretty strange. With Thunder still on hiatus, and guitarist Luke Morley and vocalist Danny Bowes more keen to talk about the Bowes & Morley album ‘Moving Swiftly Along’, I ended up interviewing the pair separately, during late summer of 2002. The chat with Harry James was, I think, done on the phone. However, all three were happy to spill the beans on Thunder’s career, addressing the band’s rise and fall, and their apprenticeship with Terraplane, with traditional South London humour and honesty. It was a few days after meeting Bowes in a pub in West Wycombe that news broke of Thunder getting back together to play the Monsters Of Rock festival with Alice Cooper. You could’ve knocked me down with a feather, but it made the Classic Rock story timelier than anyone could have known! (23rd January, 2006)
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