Whatever Falls, Angels & Ghosts
Flash, In The Can, Out Of Our Hands, Psychosync
CD's online @ Tower, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and CD Universe.
Reviews of "Whatever Falls" and "Angels & Ghosts"
In-depth interviews at Music Street Journal and DMEmusic site.
Visit Roger Houdaille's fan site for more info, photos and music clips from Flash - 1971-73, with ex-"Yes" guitarist Peter Banks, Ray Bennett, Colin Carter and Mike Hough.
Ray is currently living in Las Vegas. For info on live performaces, news updates and random chatter go to Ray's MySpace page at myspace.com/raybennettmusic.
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES.......
RAY BENNETT joined "The Original Breed Bluesband" at 15 with BILL BRUFORD (Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks), 16, on drums.
"My girlfriend during "The Breed" days was into blues and she encouraged me to be 'authentic'. I didn't know what that meant yet, but I was always attracted to originality - the Beatles and classical music mostly. It took years for the blues and jazz to creep into my soul, even though I started out playing the blues. I was a guitar player and Bill and his friends asked me to play a gig on bass. I learned in two weeks. Jack Bruce was my inspiration throughout those years, though I didn't practice much. I played guitar and piano at home. But once that bass vibe got into me, it never left.
I got to know YES through Bill of course, which led to Peter Banks and FLASH. Peter and I had a long, sometimes difficult relationship, but when we played together there was a lot of magic. FLASH gave me confidence and credibility. It was a rich experience for me as a bass player, songwriter and as a person.
Now guitar is my instrument of choice and I love to sing. I've also done quite a bit of composing on keyboard too. On a lot of the tracks on "Whatever Falls" and Angels & ghosts" I'm taking care of guitar, bass, keys, vocals, backing vocals, engineering, producing and even the artwork for both CD releases. Though drums are definitely 'out'. Much of the time doing it all was a necessity, but often it's a simple choice just to get things done .. and a lot of fun.
I owe a lot to the extraordinary era of rock I grew up in. Just being a part of it always feels great, and I'm thankful to the great artists of that time who inspired me to try to do a bit of everything ..... and very importantly, to be myself. I do approach music in my own way, and I don't want to know what it's going to be - the fun is in the discovery."
The original FLASH, and YES, grew out of the same psychedelic rock scene, from a common musical genesis (sorry no pun intended)...which in the UK meant British lads with a varied musical background. Some were jazzers, some had classical roots, and almost all of them had absorbed the Beatles' creative outpouring - rock in full-frontal creativity.
A few years after their first local blues band Ray Bennett often stayed with Bruford as a non-rent paying guest in the YES flat in London. These were the early years of a new era when YES was slowly beginning to have an impact. As yet, King Crimson had only played one or two gigs, Sting was still at school and AC/DC meant electricity. Future 70's rock bands - and legends - were being born.
It was during these formative days that Bennett met Peter Banks, watching his innovative, guitar pole-vaulting onstage with YES.. Banks also saw his future FLASH bandmate frying eggs, rolling joints and playing bass with "THE GUN".
Later, when Banks became the first ex-YES guitarist, Colin Carter, formerly with "PETER BARDEN'S CAMEL" became the voice of FLASH by initiating the idea to form a new band. Ray Bennett, who had gone to look for America, reappeared in London after two years.......right on time to fill the bass spot. Mike Hough had been a hard working drummer with a jazz, rock and big band background. He was discovered by Banks and Carter playing in a ballroom in London.
These talented musicians pooled their efforts - and very distinct identities - to form FLASH, creating another "original" in that first progressive rock era.
.................Tony Kaye was a guest on the first FLASH album, not an original band member as is often reported. FLASH decided to go on without keyboards, even turning down Patrick Moraz who later went on to join YES.
Critics often made much of the comparisons with YES, and who was copying who, but anyone who really
listened, or saw FLASH, knew they were their own masters. COLIN CARTER, PETER BANKS, RAY BENNETT and MIKE HOUGH were FLASH.
WHAT THE ROCK JOURNALISTS SAID ABOUT FLASH
................They've got guts, they are musicians with the chops and they've got enough insight into the mechanics of music-making to be able to offer more in the way of intelligent, innovative musicianship than nine-tenths of their contemporaries.
Gordon Fletcher - ROLLING STONE
.................Though Flash had done over fifty dates in two months, with the likes of Alice Cooper, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath and The Kinks, though they had kept their first single on the charts(#28) for over three months, and though they had sold over 100,000 copies of their first LP, (Flash, on Capitol Records) and all within less than a year of their first rehearsal, there was no question about it, the band was being knocked (by critics) as an imitation of Peter Banks old group (YES)
..............despite all the similarities there is an undeniable difference between FLASH and YES no amount of musical analysis could quite pin down. If he'd (Banks) been foolish enough to set up the new band up as a vehicle for his guitar solos, Flash might well have been a cheap copy of what the Yes group was when Banks was in it. Flash is far from being a vehicle for his obviously talented guitar work. It is, rather, a band without a leader.
............What the group calls "the most satisfying song on the new album" (In The Can) "Monday Morning Eyes"................ No lyrics could be more unlike the space-aged (some say "heartless") surrealism of the group they say Flash imitates....No lyric could have less in common with Yes's strangely anti-female "I've Seen All Good People", or Jon Anderson's cosmic cover-up of what he's trying to say in "And You And I".
.............when the stage lights went up on Ray Bennett bending over his bass, on Peter Banks jabbing his guitar with gearshift movements, and on Colin Carter leaning back and belting into the microphone, the four of them were more determined than ever to show "That this is Flash music, and nothing to do with Yes"
Peter Jay Philbin & Howard Bloom - CIRCUS MAGAZINE.
FLASH in the early 70's put out three albums on EMI/Capitol Records, had a hit single "Small Beginnings", toured Europe and the USA four times, and even made it to Australia for one gig. They appeared with Genesis, Humble Pie, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music, Black Sabbath, Todd Rundgren, Santana, Joe Walsh, Uriah Heep, Steve Miller, The Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck, Badfinger, Foghat, Mott The Hoople, J Geils Band, Earth Wind & Fire and more.
..................and all in only two years.
"We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them in the coal shed, we shall fight them in the sweetshops, we shall fight them behind Mrs. Farrell's post office. We shall never surrender!".......
- Ray Bennett -