DozenQ – Allan Crockford

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

Allan Crockford of Galileo 7

As a member of such semi-legends as the Prisoners, The Solarflares, JTQ, Thee Headcoats and more recently The Stabilisers (amongst a much longer list), Allan Crockford has played an important if low-key part in establishing the Medway area’s reputation as a hotbed for spirited, uncompromising garage rock with a strong DIY ethic. Playing with such Medway notables as Graham Day, Billy Childish and James Taylor, his reputation was as the reliable sideman for more flamboyant figures. Now he has found a late flowering talent for writing his own material. The Galileo 7 were formed to play the songs he had been storing up for the last 3 or 4 years. The alternative was to go busking alone in Chatham High Street, a course of action which would have inevitably lead to a long stay in hospital.

01. What first got you into music, specifically forming a band?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love music. The sounds of late 60’s pop music must have filtered into my consciousness from a very early age. One of the earliest news items I recall having an impact on me was the Beatles split. I remember it being a lead story on the BBC early evening news bulletin, so I must have been into them from very early on. I liked the usual stuff, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who etc but it never occurred to me that it was possible for me to play music like that, despite (or because of) enduring years of weekly organ lessons as a child. I played songs from the Beatles songbook on a Hammond with one of those horrible rhythm boxes, but actually being in a band with other people was not a concept I understood. I started reading the weekly press and listening to John Peel in late 76/77 and became aware of something called Punk rock amongst all the over-earnest rock… It seemed that the main point about this weird movement was that it told us that our current musical heroes were up their own arses and ‘the kids’ needed to make their own music. I never stopped liking the music I already liked (but I pretended I didn’t for a while), and I got an acoustic guitar. Having had music lessons helped a bit, but learning to play rocknroll on a Spanish guitar isn’t easy. It was only when I saw the Jam on their first appearance on Top of the Pops in april 1977 that I got the electric shock of realising THAT was what I wanted to do. But first of all I needed an electric guitar and an amp, and also some kindred spirits…. When I saw a local band called Pop Rivets (Billy Childish’s first band) play in pubs round our way that was the decider. They were great – a band inspired by punk that played unfashionable 60s covers along with their own stuff. Their two albums are still in my top 10.

Our Sponsors

02. Which artists did you like when you first got into music? Are they different to the ones you were into when you first became a musician?

As I mentioned, I was mainly into the mainstream rock artists that everyone was into if they weren’t only interested in chart pap. It was punk and new wave that got me into actually making music and being in a band so from that time onwards that was what I bought and listened to. Usually the more pop end of the spectrum, but as long as it had energy and came on 7” black vinyl. The Jam, XTC, Stranglers, Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, Clash, Soft Boys and loads of little bands that made one or two singles and disappeared, like Tours, The Stiffs etc. And of course the Pop Rivits. But I quickly found out that a lot of these bands were referencing older or more obscure artists from a time just before I discovered music – the Doors, Small Faces, The Creation, Love, Stooges and lots of no-hopers from a previous generation of punks. The kind of stuff that is now called Garage Rock or Nuggets, Freak Beat – whatever label you like. The kind of stuff that it was very difficult to track down. I also discovered the very earliest music of bands that I already liked such as the Who, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, and realised that they mostly got it right first time and spend the rest of their careers getting worse…. in my opinion!

03. Which of today’s artists do you like? How do they compare to your earliest favourite artists?

Liking music in middle age is different from liking it as a youngster. There isn’t quite the emotional resonance and connection with a lot of music, and the fact that as a musician you tend to know the tricks tends to take away some of the magic. A lot of it is tied up with growing up, after all. But recently I’ve got into Tame Impala and Soundtrack of our Lives. I like bands who obviously have some of the same influences as me, but who take it in another direction.

04. Who do you think your audiences are? What do you think are they like?

Well if they have heard of or liked any of my previous bands then they are probably a bit older than your average indie fan! Probably sharing a love for obscure 60’s garage/psych, punk rock of both generations and with vaguely mod tendencies. If anyone is into the current band it’s more than likely they are familiar with the previous bands. Once you’re out of the first flush of youth as a musician it’s difficult to pick up new fans, although the internet has made it a bit easier. Luckily, I don’t make music for anyone else… it’s for my own satisfaction and the challenge.

05. If you had to describe your band to someone who had not heard you before, what would you say?

The question all musicians hate….! Sort of 2 and a half minute songs with a DIY Medway garage/psych/punk/powerpop/indie/mod/freakbeat feel. It used to be called pop music I think.

06. Which artist(s) would you be happy to share a festival bill with, and why?

Anyone. If someone offered us a festival slot then I really wouldn’t care who it was with. Sometimes I think the audience doesn’t care either!

07. What song or arrangement of your own are you most proud of and why?

I’m kind of proud of most of the stuff I’ve played on whether I wrote it or not. I spent the first x decades of my musical career playing other people’s songs and thinking that writing songs was beyond my modest talents as a bass player or guitarist. I was always pleased to make a contribution to the playing and production of songs by other members of the bands I was in, whether it was the Prisoners/Solarflares/ James Taylor Quartet/Headcoats or whatever. I’m proud that I discovered I could actually write songs a few years ago and eventually made those songs into the first Galileo 7 album. The only problem with becoming the main songwriter/singer in a band is that it makes me more critical and less able to listen to the songs dispassionately. I have no real idea whether they are any good or not, although some people whose opinions I respect have said they are (mostly) good. Or at least OK! It’s probably best not to spend too much time analysing your own work and just get on with the next thing. Only time reveals the quality or lack of it of one’s own music…

08. Which producer (still alive and this side of prison) would you like to work with most, and why?

No idea really…. you never know if you’re going to get on with someone until you’re faced with having to work creatively with them. We had some poor experiences with producers forced on us (The Prisoners, JTQ) by record companies who didn’t really get what we were doing. The records I like least that I’ve been involved with are the ones that had ‘producers’ that weren’t us or someone directly connected to the band. Having said that I think it would have been good to work with the team of house technicians and producers who made all the classic EMI/Abbey Road records in the 60’s. But as for working with so-called creative genius producers, it doesn’t appeal to me. Not that I’m ever going to get the chance!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?


10. Do you find different parts of the country or world are easier or harder to connect with? Why do you think that?

Not particularly, but I always prefer gigging outside of the UK. It may just be that fact that artists tend to get treated a little better by promoters and venues and that puts you in a better mood for the gig, or it may be that getting out the country just makes it feel more like an adventure. But most of my favourite gigs have been on tour in Europe. The UK audience can be very stand-offish ( or even stay away from the gig-ish!). But I am obviously making a massive generalisation here. If a gig is good it doesn’t matter where it is.

11. If you could backtrack through your career, what would you edit, if anything?

No regrets about the music. No point. Some records and songs are better than others, but you can only do your best at the time and leave it for other people to decide whether they like it or not. If I could change anything positive, it would be that I wish that some of the earlier bands I played in had been a bit nicer to people, but that was the ignorance and arrogance of youth…

12. How do you see Galileo 7 progressing in say the next five years?

No plans beyond keep writing, recording and playing and enjoying it. As long as I feel I’m not making a fool of myself we’ll carry on. Once you’ve gone past a certain stage in life, making our sort of music becomes its own reward, not a ticket to fame and fortune or even fulfilling some sort of artistic vision. Not that fame and fortune was ever an option with the sort of racket we’ve been making for the last few years!


Photos by: Phil Dillon

All the pre-orders are in the post (first class of course) and the album is now officially released. High Quality 180gm vinyl and normal quality CD versions are available from the store. If you like your musical formats invisible and weightless, it’s also available from iTunes. Buy the vinyl – that’s where it sounds best!


Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

More Posts - Website - Facebook

Originally posted 2012-09-13 11:34:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Series NavigationDozenQ – Ali IngleDozenQ – The bad joke that ended well

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker