Alan Clayson and the Argonauts were one of rock's most glorious and enjoyable follies, and somewhere there is a parallel universe where they are bigger than the Beatles" - Rock 'N' Reel, June 2007
Prior to becoming a famous author, Alan Clayson was the chief show-off in a travelling asylum called CLAYSON AND THE ARGONAUTS. There are still people around today who'll tell you that surely this was The Greatest Group Ever Formed. Certainly, the stage act defied succinct description and, crucially, Clayson was being spoken of and written about in the same sentences as the likes of Wreckless Eric, Tom Robinson, John Otway and Elvis Costello.
CLAYSON AND THE ARGONAUTS left the runway in 1976 shortly after a promoter in Reading found their recital so disturbing that he hustled them from his premises at gunpoint. Too hot for Berkshire to hold, the consequent sweep of events embraced a BBC Radio One In Concert and headlining at venues like the Marquee, the 100 Club, the Roundhouse, Amsterdam's Melkveg and any number of university hops - such as that at Queen's in Belfast at the height of the Troubles, where an ecstatic audience were still demanding more after six encores.
En route, the outfit experienced the wreckage by an over-excited crowd of a Luton auditorium; a near-lynching at Barbarella's in Birmingham; a punch-up and correlated car chase from Canning Town; a season in a red-light district sur le continent (the "Hamburg" period); some woman jumping onstage to tear off all her clothes at Islington's celebrated Hope-and-Anchor, and a bloke doing the same at the Granary in Bristol.
A debut single was a "turntable hit" (e.g. Number Three in Time Out), and its UK B-side was a Top Twenty entry in Belgium. A valedictory album, What A Difference A Decade Made, was a critical cause celebre, earning rave reviews in Folk Roots (!) and The Observer. Two tracks and further Clayson compositions were "covered" by the likes of Dave Berry, Stairway and, this very year, the winner of the Indonesian version of Pop Idol.
Since completing their original mission in 1985, the legend of CLAYSON AND THE ARGONAUTS endures still, and the forthcoming tour might stand as an artistic apotheosis if it were not for the promise of surprises yet to come.
PRESS COMMENT: all the quotes below come from Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Sounds, Evening Standard, Time Out, The Observer, Daily Express, Newbury Weekly News, Ugly Things, New York Village Voice, Wokingham Times, The Stage, Sounds and Folk Roots.
"Clayson is in a premier position on rock's lunatic fringe"
"Incredibly strange and strangely incredible"
"January might be a bit early, but Clayson and the Argonauts might well be the show business sensation of the year"
"Lively and vivid imagination at work here"
"Curiously appealing evening of baroque and roll"
"What A Difference A Decade Made is likely to delight the legions of fans who have followed Alan Clayson and the Argonauts over the past ten years"
"Alan Clayson's original songs are utterly delightful in their originality"
"If you like your musical entertainment to be a little out of the ordinary, then this enjoyable extravaganza would definitely have been for you"
"Tight, complex, full of interplay between the lead instruments of guitar, sax and keyboards; they sound quite unlike anything else. Each number bristles with ideas, and a lot of work has gone into getting things right."
Doors Open: 7.30pm Admission: £7 on the Door
Tickets: £6 + BF from Bristol Ticket Shop, High Street, Bristol Tel 0117 9299008 www.bristolticketshop.co.uk