Rod Clements

Biography

 
Born in 1947, Rod Clements was an only child brought up in North Shields, North Tyneside. At 12 he was sent to boarding school in Durham, and found an escape from its rigorous regime in the guitar-based pop music of the time. Hammering out Duane Eddy and Ventures tunes on borrowed guitars, Rod soon formed his own group (to the horror of the school authorities, who confiscated his first guitar when he was caught playing it during a study period). By the time he left school in 1965, his group the Downtown Faction were playing R&B standards at local dances and parties.

Back home in North Shields, Rod teamed up with local musicians to form a blues band (also called the Downtown Faction), whilst moonlighting as bassist with a show band backing strippers and comedians on the notorious Tyneside club circuit.

Rod's growing interest in country blues and slide guitar, and his early attempts at songwriting, led him to the folk clubs where he and a stripped-down version of the Downtown Faction, now known as Brethren, played Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly songs alongside their own embryonic efforts.

The Tyneside folk clubs of the late 60's were a thriving scene which brought Rod into contact with some of the leading names of the day like Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty, Ralph McTell, Al Stewart, Rab Noakes and many more. Most significantly for Rod and his mates, they fell in with a Newcastle singer/songwriter called Alan Hull with whom they went on to form the classic folk-rock band Lindisfarne.

Though Alan was Lindisfarne's principal songwriter, it was Rod who provided the band with its first hit in 'Meet Me On The Corner' which reached the top 5 in March 1972, won Rod a Certificate of Honour at the Ivor Novello awards and paved the way for the band's chart-topping 'Fog On The Tyne' album. Over thirty years on, 'Meet Me On The Corner' still gets regular radio play, and instantly evokes its time, as when it was recently used by the makers of the BBC-TV drama 'Life On Mars.'

During Lindisfarne's long career, Rod gave the band many much-loved album tracks and stage favourites like 'Road To Kingdom Come' and 'Train in G Major.' Following Alan Hull's untimely death in 1995 Rod became the band's main songwriter who, in partnership with producer & co-writer Nigel Stonier, provided the bulk of the material for Lindisfarne's two last critically acclaimed albums 'Here Comes The Neighbourhood' and 'Promenade.' Rod's contributions to the band's distinctive sound ranged from full-time bass player (a role he relinquished in 1990) to fiddle, mandolin, dobro and electric slide guitar, and - increasingly in later years - vocals.

Rod was also a founding member of Jack The Lad, the Lindisfarne spin-off band, in whose debut album 'It's Jack The Lad' he played a significant role as multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.

Rod's instrumental skills have been in demand from early in his career and he has contributed to the work of some of the greatest names in folk & roots music. In 1974 he played bass on one the British folk scene's biggest hits and best-loved classics, Ralph McTell's 'Streets Of London', which topped the charts at Christmas that year. Rod went on to tour and record several albums with Ralph.

The McTell connection led directly to Rod's involvement with one of his guitar heroes and arguably the most influential guitarist of his generation, Bert Jansch. Rod and Bert worked closely through 1975-6, sharing a house in North London, touring Britain and Europe and recording Bert's comeback album 'A Rare Conundrum' (produced by Rod) for the Charisma label.

Bert and Rod worked together occasionally throughout the 80s. The recording in Newcastle of a Woody Guthrie tribute album (Woody Lives! Black Crow Records) led to the jointly credited 'Leather Launderette' (Bert Jansch & Rod Clements) and two nationwide tours, which saw Bert & Rod returning to their folk-club roots. Bert, in turn, recruited Rod into a reformed Pentangle, with whom - stepping into John Renbourn's shoes - he toured Britain, Europe and the U.S.A. and recorded an album, 'So Early In The Spring.'

Rod has also toured and recorded extensively with such seminal figures as Michael Chapman and Rab Noakes, and contributed to albums by Peter Hammill (ex-Van Der Graaf Generator), Wizz Jones and celebrated Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell amongst many others. He has supplied bass, dobro and guitar parts to albums by highly-rated singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore, who has returned the favour by providing vocals on Rod's recent solo albums.

Rod's songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Melanie and Joe Brown and a Clements/Stonier composition, 'Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong', was a much-played top 40 hit for Erin Rocha at Christmas 2003.

In recent years Rod has broken cover as a solo artist. Surprising many who previously knew him only as a background figure in Lindisfarne, Rod released his 'Stamping Ground' album in 2000. Combining quality new songs in a broad rootsy style, Rod's vocal and guitar skills fronted a band including ex-Lindisfarne colleagues Dave Hull-Denholm and Ian Thomson, former Long Ryder Sid Griffin, ex-10cc drummer Paul Burgess and Thea Gilmore on vocals. The result won widespread critical acclaim.

Rod's latest solo album 'Odd Man Out' was released in June 2006 to wide acclaim and has been described by BBC Radio Two as "lyrically adept rock-blues, dark balladry and European noir from the ex-Lindisfarne and Jack the Lad founding member with an illustrious folk-roots back history."

Source: http://www.vixenrecords.com/newfoxymusic/rodclements/rodbiog.htm  accessed 23rd March 2013

Discography

 

A Summary of Rod's Recorded Highlights

 

1970 – 2006

SOLO

2000 Stamping Ground – Rod's first solo release proper - Market Square
2004 Live Ghosts – Rod's trio, live - Batsville
2006 Odd Man Out – Rod's most recent studio album - Market Square
2008 
One Track Mind 2008 – The latest version of Rod's first solo venture - Batsville

WITH LINDISFARNE – list excludes numerous compilations, live albums etc

1970 Nicely Out Of Tune - EMI Virgin
1971 Fog On The Tyne EMI Virgin
1972 Dingly Dell - EMI Virgin
1978 Back And Fourth - Castle
1979 The News - Castle
1982 Sleepless Nights - Castle
1986 Dance Your Life Away - Castle
1989 Amigos - Castle
1993 Elvis Lives On The Moon - Castle
1997 Blues From The Bothy (ep) - Park
1998 Here Comes The Neighbourhood - Park
2002 Promenade - Park

See also:

 

DOWNTOWN FACTION   BRETHREN   THE DEFECTORS

PACAMAX   ALAN HULL

WITH JACK THE LAD

1974 It's Jack The Lad - EMI Virgin

WITH BERT JANSCH

1974 In The Bleak Midwinter (single) – on The Best Christmas Album in the World... Ever! - New Edition VTDCD 347
1976 A Rare Conundrum (produced by Rod) - Charisma
1988 Leather Launderette (BERT JANSCH & ROD CLEMENTS) - Black Crow

WITH RALPH McTELL

1974 Streets of London (single) - Reprise / Warner Bros
1975 Streets (album featuring single) - Leola
1976 Right Side Up - Leola
1983 Songs from Alphabet Zoo - Leola

WITH MICHAEL CHAPMAN

1977 The Man Who Hated Mornings - Secret
1980 Looking For Eleven - Criminal
2005 Plaindealer - Rural Retreat
2010 And Then, There Were Three - Market Square

See also: THE ACADEMICALS

WITH RAB NOAKES

1980 Rab Noakes - MCA
1983 Under The Rain - Black Crow
1995 Throwing Shapes (THE VARAFLAMES – released 2000) - Neon

WITH THEA GILMORE

2000 The Lipstick Conspiracies - Naim
2002 Songs From The Gutter - Flying Sparks

WITH NIGEL STONIER

1993 Golden Coins For The Holy Kid - A New Day
2002 Brimstone & Blue - Flying Sparks

OTHER

1971 PETER HAMMILL Fool’s Mate - EMI
1975 PRELUDE Owlcreek Incident - Dawn
1976 WIZZ JONES Happiness Was Free - N/A
1977 DANDO SHAFT Kingdom - Rubber Records
1978 JIM RAFFERTY Don't Talk Back - Decca
1986 KATHRYN TICKELL Borderlands - Black Crow
1987 VARIOUS ARTISTS Woody Lives! - Woody Guthrie tribute album - Black Crow
1988 IAN MCCALLUM Left Handed - Fat Mice
1989 PENTANGLE So Early In The Spring - Park
1996 RICK KEMP Escape - Fellside Recordings
2000 MARK KNOPFLER & ROD CLEMENTS Newport Mountain Rag - recorded 1974, released on Lindisfarne compilation BT3 - Siren
2000 VARIOUS ARTISTS People On The Highway - Bert Jansch tribute album - Market Square
2000 FRASER SPEIRS AND FRIENDS About Time! (live) - Flamingo West
2000 VARIOUS ARTISTS A Full Head of Steam - A Full Head Of Steam Ltd
2004 VARIOUS ARTISTS Rumours of Rain (CD single) - Hypertension
2009 KATY LIED Echo Games - Weatherbox
2010 DAVID ROTHERAY The Life of Birds - Proper Music


Source: http://www.rodclements.com/frame.html accessed 23rd March 2013
 

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