I got a call from a chap named Horst Zwipp, whom I had met a year or so ago whilst working "The Moody Marsden Band". Horst happened to be managing Chris Thompson, hence the EarthBand connection.
Horst told me that MMEB were going to be auditioning drummers in the next week or so and would I be interested. After briefly filling me in to the various
details of the band, he said I could call Manfred to arrange the audition.
11.00am Monday 18th March, 1996. The Workhouse Studios, 490 Old Kent Road, London Town, a pretty cold miserable day. The studio is locked and I'm
parked in the bus lane with a car full of gear, after being moved twice by the traffic warden, Ray Mascarenas came to the rescue and let me in.
After unloading and parking I proceeded to lug my gear up the rather narrow staircase to Workhouse Rehearsal Room 1. I set up, warmed up and then
wandered down to the S.S.L. Room where I was greeted with "John, I told you not to arrive till after 12!" Followed by "How old are you?" Thinking to
myself this is Manfred Mann, seems like a nice friendly chap!
After exchanging pleasantries over a cup of tea and enlightening me on the finer points of "Alexander Technique" Manfred played me a live tape of the
band's last tour; Demolition Man, Martha, Shelter etc... after sketching out a couple of parts and filling me in on some of what I had been up to, we walked
up the stairs to the rehearsal room where I was introduced to Mick Rogers and Steve Kinch, no singers present today. (Sorry Mick!)
We played through several tunes which seemed to go fairly well. I remember Mick being helpful giving me the odd cue here and there. In fact, throughout
the ordeal Mick was very friendly as was Manfred saying to me at one stage "John, I'm assuming we're mates by now, do me a favour, in the chorus go
to the ride cymbal", which in hindsight is a typical Manfredism.
That was it really, we had another cuppa, Manfred played me a track called "Tumbling Ball" which he was working on at the time, but I couldn't hang
around because I had a session in West London at 4.00pm. So I packed up quickly and began my goodbyes.
They had several other drummers to see, Chris Slade, John Lingwood and Clive Bunker amongst them but he would be in touch.
I said goodbye and as I left the studio, for all I thought I'd played OK (for an audition), you would really expect one of the other ex-members to get the gig.
So I was pleasantly surprised when they called me a day or so later to say I had got the gig and could I pick up a tape.
The rest is history as they say. 1996 with the EarthBand on the whole was very enjoyable. Here's to 1997.
JOHN TROTTER (Drummer)