Des Henly's Rock and Roll Circus

music paper articles

Jan 25 1973

Fumble flies off to fame and fortune
(by Peter Patston)

FUMBLE, a four-man rock band from Weston-super-Mare, is all set to plunge into the big time at the deep end.
The outfit has played together for five years. It’s toured in the North of England and on the Continent; appeared on BBC2‘s Old Grey Whistle Test; and an album, Fumble, on the Sovereign label, has been selling steadily since release in November.
But the four boys‘ biggest break comes in a few weeks, in the shape of a six-week, 20-date tour of America with David Bowie and The Spiders.
Des Henly, who playes lead guitar and sings lead vocals, told me how the band came to team up with Bowie.
"He heard the LP, liked it and asked us to play a set before him in Manchester. We went on with him to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Preston, and he ended up by inviting us to America." said Des.

BALOONS
It’s our first tour of the States, and it’ll be tremendous going with Bowie. It’ll mean playing before audieces of between eight and 10,000."
The other members of the band are Barry Pike, on drums, Sean Mayes, piano, and Mario Ferrari, bass. They started out five years ago as Baloons.
"In those days we would take anything we could get," said Des.
"We went to Switzerland eight times, and ended up just by skiing and playing tennis."
The band saw a lot of Rumania and Bulgaria. These iron Curtain countries are restricted to two tours a year. Des told me.
Fumble was lucky enough to make a couple of visits.
And eastern Europe was a good stomping ground for the band to get into a strong rock act, which it still uses today.

NAIVETY
"I hate the term rock revival," said Des. "But we do a lot of the old songs, as well as new ones we write ourselves.
What we’re not trying to do is revive anything. If there’s a message, it’s something to do with the naivety and innocence of the tone of those old numbers.
All we want people to do at a Fumble concert is smile."
You can see the band before it rushes off across the Atlantic, and then incidentally returns to some strenuous recording sessions for a second album, at the Bristol Granary on Saturday.
Fumble played there more than a year ago with Slade, and made a second appearance some months back.
"We like the Granary," said Des. "It’s one of the few places in this part of the country where we can play. And it’s also nice to perform somewhere closer to home."