John Grimaldi (R.I.P)
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The music of John Grimaldi (b May 1955 - d 1983), and the many and various members of his bands.
John was a prolific musician and songwriter. From St.Albans boys School, where he formed Motiffe, through Flux which he formed with Dave Shackley, he was showing his skills as a Jazz/Rock musician, writing his own brand of the genre.
After Flux, he joined <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argent_(band)">Argent</a> in 1975/6. A performance from the Circus tour at the Roundhouse, Camden, London can be seen <a href="http://www.johnverity.com/video">here, courtesy of John Verity</a>. On the demise of Argent in 1975, he went on to form Captain Sussex, from which came the first incarnation of Cheap Flights, in 1976/7.
This version saw John Playing with <a href="http://www.peter-arnesen.com">Peter Arnesen</a> (ex Rubettes, Leo Sayer and a host of others) on keyboards, Cliff Venner on Percussion, <a href="http://www.thefixx.com">Dan Brown (The Fixx)</a> on bass, and Pete Ernest on second Guitar. This line up played in London, and a few gigs in the Hertfordshire area. Late in 1976/early 77 Pete Arneson left, leaving a gap....
...which was filled by Johns ex schoolfriend, former member of Motiffe, and son of the then Dean of St.Albans, Mark Pasterfield. Mark brought a completely new vocal sound to the band, and a sense of fun, that pervaded through the performances. With this lineup, the band expanded their horizins through London and the home counties, and as far afield as the west country, even getting some gigs on the college circuit. Marks father changing job to become Bishop of Exeter resulted in a mad dash one Christmas eve from a gig in Croydon, leaving at 2:00 am, arriving in Exeter at 5:30, and the driver having to get back to Hertfordshire by 10:00 am... it was the 70s... no cars luckily.
Cliff Venner and Pete Ernest moved on in late 76, leaving a gap, which resulted in <a href="http://www.aavinternational.com/">Brett Salmon</a> and Dave Taylor joining on Guitar and Percussion. This line up produced a version leaning more towards the 70s Rock, but still with Johns Jazz in the background. With a wider appeal the band hit the London pub circuit, and the wider club circuit, as well as a short 1 week booking in Holland. Brett remembers that they played 8 gigs in: <br />
Oct 28: Leiden (Leiden Leisure Centre) <br />
Oct 28: Amsterdam, (<a href="http:www.melkweg.nl">Melkweg</a>)
Oct 29: Apeldoorn (Gigant) <br />
Nov 2: Zwolle (Circle Bar) <br />
Nov 4: Rotterdam (Eksit) <br />
Plus also Eindhoven and Rotterdam...
At one of these a radio station, possibly a pirate station, recorded their gig. We would love to hear if that recording still exists, as it will be the only one with Mark Pasterfield live.
Mark recently informed us that one evening they finished the gig and discovered people drinking their beer in the dressing room. Mark asked them (in a 70s way), to leave their beer alone, and was then informed by the club owner that these were the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bader_meinhoff">Bader Meinhoff gang</a>. Mark and John talked to them (as they loved the music apparently), until they left at 2:00 am, with a general sigh of relief all round.
Devastatingly, Mark contracted a thrombosis in 1977, resulting in him giving up the band, under doctors orders.
This brought about the near demise of Cheap Flights. After some convincing that he could be the lead vocalist as well, with <a href="http://www.thefixx.com">Dan Brown (The Fixx)</a> leaving, to be replaced by <a href="http://www.kikiandcarmelo.com/">Lou (Carmelo Luggeri)</a> , who later played with Kiki Dee.
This line up, with <a href="http://www.aavinternational.com/">Brett Salmon</a>on second guitar and backing vocals, <a href="http://www.kikiandcarmelo.com/">Lou (Carmelo Luggeri)</a> on bass and Dave Taylor providing percussion, was the most successful, staying together for a good 2 years. They expanded their fan base, by gigging extensively in London on the Pub/Club circuit (notably the Duke of Lancaster in Barnet, the John Bull in Chiswick, and the Rock Garden on Covent Garden). They also played extensively in Oxford (Corn Dolly) and the Leeds/Bradford area (did you go to the Fforde Green ever?.. a favourite haunt .. or the Princeville). Their popularity also lead to many gigs on the college circuit.
The lack of interest from the record companies, led the band to release their one and only single, I'm Sorry. This was also distributed themselves to their fan base, selling the bulk of the 5000 first pressing at gigs and to the fan club alone. The finance for this came from one of their long term fans, who became a stalwart within the group.
During 1979, the band split with their management, and John, very sadly, was diagnosed with MS. This lead to Johns early death in 1983, but not before producing a set of tracks under 'The Casual Athletes', financed by Pete Waterman, with John on keyboards. His death resulted in he loss to the world of one of the greatest guitarists his fans had the privelege to hear. It was a strange quirk of fate that a couple of weeks after his death the record companies finally woke up to his popularity, and the phone started ringing... but too late.
As an aside, John was also a talented artist. His artwork found its way onto the covers of the Circus and Counterpoints Albums for Argent; various paintings still exist, and two that have been tracked down can be seen under the Flux set on this site, courtesy of Steve Ingham (well done Steve and his Best Man for their preservation).