Back in my late teens/early twenties I took up playing the Saxophone as a hobby and once I had forward motion facilities I became a regular attendee of the Shrewsbury Jazz Club and Jazz Club 90 and while watching the many bands the seed of forming a jazz band was planted and began to grow. Now doubt partially fuelled by the brief emergence of a new generation of Jazz singers and youth jazz bands attacking the mainstream hit parade, though the world of modern regarded these new arrivals much the same way that the Trad movement did the “Archer’s Street Jazzmen” in the 1950s.
So while I mused about it, how the line up would work, what would the band play etc the thought of a name for the band hit me. Even just a working title as it were… I flicked through the Jazz Guide looking at the band adverts for a little inspiration and the names were quite generic ‘Wabash Jazz Men”, “Heart of England Jazz Band”, “Severnside Jazz Band”, “Sussex Jazz Kings”etc so I did toy with the Proud Salopian Jazz Band and variations of it, but again I felt it a bit ordinary and probably would give the impression that we would be full of middle aged and semi-retired men so I knew it had to be a little more iconoclastic. Two of the most talked about bands on the then new scene were Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear who still now cause a split of opinion on them, but what struck was they didn’t sound like Jazz Band names and I went with that approach. So after a bit of brain wracking I toyed with The Quatermass Experiment which to me would be a marketing ploy as if I decided to front a big band I would be able to call it Quatermass 2 to illustrate it was the same person fronting it. I then toyed with The Mutant Phase and er, Eaters of Wasps, I chatted with my mate Shaggy who was in an indie band called 1952 about the names and the first thing he said “I say old chap, I am intrigued to know where you originated those names”, well that may not be the exact phrasing he used but that was the gist. After a pause he did shared his thoughts and concluded that the first two were good names… for a rock band and the that Eaters of Wasps sounded like the name of a sinister heavy metal or grunge group, I guess he was right on the later but since I didn’t want a jazz sounding name I settled on The Mutant Phase, a name I borrowed from an excellent Big Finish audioplay featuring the Daleks.
Of course the band didn’t happen as I really didn’t know where to begin in getting a group together, I didn’t know anyone into Jazz around my age and I was a bit to shy to ask to sit at the Harp, so it became a pipe dream. It is a pity the lovely Jadene Ryder was not a contemporary of mine as I think something could have started there… but then again considering the whole Andrea issue perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.
That is a young Sandman with my Alto sax and Tenor resting next to me, this was pre-Clarinet and bass guitar so this was my musical instrument ensemble.