News Update November 2007
This year Middle of the Road has had considerable TV exposure throughout Europe appearing on major networks in 4 different countries in one form or another.
GERMANY AND FRANCE
HOLLAND AND BELGIUM
One of the many live shows of note this year was an appearance in Donnauinselfest 2007 in Vienna. This is the largest free music festival in Europe covering all genres. Only Budapest tops it for size, but the public have to pay to experience the wealth of diverse music offered by that event. Donnauinselfest has 20 sound stages and boasts an audience of 2 million over its 3 day period. First organised 24 years ago, it has attracted many of the most successful bands of the past and present.
This year's weather provided the organisers with a bit of a damp headache but the sun shone for Middle of the Road and the audience joined in the celebration, banishing the clouds with a rousing rendition of "Soley Soley".
The festival concluded with a spectacular fireworks display. It took three more days for the islands on the Danube to be returned to normal but the promoters were able to declare this year's event a total success.
Denmark has had its fair share of Middle of the Road's appearances this year, the most recent of which was in Brande, in November. On this occasion, Ken decided to give himself a really rough time by allowing his car to breakdown on the way to the airport at 4.00am. As a result he missed his flight and had to flit from airline to airline to re-book flights which would get him to the gig on time. It had been sometime since he had experienced a panic of this dimension but he rose to the occasion and was able to secure a route to Billund, not the best served airline destination in Europe, which allowed him a restful five hours in Copenhagen before the final 45 minute hop. Needless to say, Ken's enthusiasm to sample the delicacies of the countries he visits meant that a bout of comfort eating was fed by a plentiful supply of Danish pastries.
The car has been repaired and reprimanded for its untimely illness. Ken, however, is still recovering from his Danish pastry gorging session in Copenhagen.
Some Future Events
On November the 24th, the band will appear in a major pop concert in Essen, Germany, once again featuring an array of International Pop Bands and Artistes including Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, The Lords, Rubettes, feat. Bill Hurd, Love Affair, Ohio Express and Harpo.
Already the diary is filling for next year with an appearance booked for a show in Nurnberg in March which was, originally, to feature rock guitarist icons. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the "guitar gods" were unable to attend but Kenny, our very own "deity of the strings", offered to give a master-class on technique to some of the more mature guests on the show. No applications have yet been received but there is still time.
Eric McCredie, the original bass guitarist and vocalist with Middle of the Road, sadly, died on 6th October 2007.
Eric was one of the four founder members of the band and played an important part in the various stages of the formation of Middle of the Road.
His distinctive bass playing, with its origins as much into rock and soul as it was into pop, sat comfortably within the small instrumental combination that backed the rich vocal sound produced by the band. Eric's musical talent covered all types of guitars and keyboards, the latter of which formed a backbone to many of the group's recordings from 1973 onwards. His influence on the band's style was most apparent in the mid 70s when they took on the task of writing and producing their own material.
He was heavily influenced by Joe Cocker and was lucky enough to demonstrate that on a number of tracks on which he featured as lead vocal. He predicted that "Queen" would be the discovery of the 70s just before they hit it big in the charts and was able to tell Freddy Mercury just that when Freddy popped in to see Middle of the Road during one of their UK Tours.
Eric deeply distrusted a number of elements within the music business and he spent much of his spare time scrutinising facts and figures thrown at the band by their many advisors and associates.
In the late 70s, when Sally and Ken left, he, together with his brother Ian, continued performing with the new Middle of the Road on the live circuit in Europe and the UK but the uniqueness of the original band's sound had been lost and it was not able to reproduce the "magic" of the original combination.
Such was his enthusiasm for the music of the band, in 1991 he finally persuaded Sally and Ken to rejoin the group and launch Middle of the Road into a second career, performing live, mainly in Europe, together with brother Ian and lead guitarist Neil Henderson. In 1995, ill health forced him to retire from full time involvement in the business.
Eric was never one to mince his words and he has left behind poignant memories, for those who knew him, of a man charged with the spark of ambition but dogged with the insecurities of his inner self.
We wish to express our deepest sympathy to all his family and friends.
Eric McCredie 1945-2007.