Never a dull mo­ment

scion of brit com­edy roy­alty. swing­ing lon­don scen­ester. rod con­fi­dant. French su­per­star. Womble... the event­ful ca­reer of Robin Le Mesurier

UNCUT - - Instant Karma - PETER WATTS

Although Robin le Mesurier is the son of two of the uK’s most beloved comic ac­tors – Dad’s Army’s John le Mesurier and Carry On’s hat­tie Jac­ques – he al­ways wanted to tread the stage as a mu­si­cian. “It was a pretty mu­si­cal house­hold,” re­calls the gui­tarist, who has just writ­ten an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. “Mum would sing when she was work­ing at the Play­ers’ the­atre in vaude­ville and dad al­ways said he’d rather have been a pian­ist than an ac­tor. their friends were mu­si­cians, too. Spike Mil­li­gan was a trum­pet player and when he came round I’d often be wo­ken up by them jam­ming down­stairs.”

le Mesurier’s own eclec­tic ca­reer has seen him play with nu­mer­ous bands – Strider, limey, Air Sup­ply, Reign, and Farm Dogs along­side Bernie taupin – as well as with Rod Ste­wart and Johnny hal­ly­day. he’s been a Womble – “I was Welling­ton, the one with the brains” – and now he’s a Face. “It hap­pened at Rod’s 70th birth­day,” he says from lA, where he’s lived for sev­eral years. “Ron­nie [Wood] and Ken­ney [Jones] were there. I brought a gui­tar just in case and at the end of the evening we played a few songs. Rod turned to me and said, ‘Right, you’re a Face now’. We then played Ken­ney’s polo club, and that was great fun.”

A pre­co­cious tal­ent, le Mesurier was a DJ at the Scotch of St James in 1969 when he was still 16 and turned pro­fes­sional soon af­ter with Reign. “I was of­fered a place at the Royal Col­lege of Mu­sic,” he says, “the same week I was of­fered a record deal. I was al­ways go­ing to choose rock’n’roll. My par­ents tried to talk me out of it as they knew it was pre­car­i­ous, but gave their bless­ing. they couldn’t have stopped me.” Robin’s brother Jake (chris­tened Kim) was also a mu­si­cian, play­ing with Cen­tral line and Sade be­fore dy­ing of a drug over­dose in 1991. Reign’s de­but sin­gle, “the line of least Re­sis­tance”, writ­ten by Jim McCarty and Keith Relf, was recorded in 1970 at Abbey Road with ge­orge har­ri­son’s les­lie amp and Ringo’s drum kit. le Mesurier then hopped be­tween bands be­fore be­com­ing a Womble: “We did Euro­vi­sion, Top Of The Pops. Mike Batt and Chris Sped­ding recorded the al­bums but when we did tV, it was a Mu­si­cians’ union rule they had to re-record the song to sound just like the orig­i­nal. My favourite was ‘Re­mem­ber You’re A Womble’, a blues shuf­fle, so right up my street.” hav­ing had a spell as Rod Ste­wart’s gui­tar tech and hav­ing sup­ported Ste­wart with Air Sup­ply, le Mesurier joined Rod’s band in 1980. “It was like a party ev­ery night,” he says. “It was go­ing on hol­i­day with your best friend and play­ing the odd show.” Since 1994, he’s played with Johnny hal­ly­day, mak­ing him a su­per­star in France – “I can’t get on the Metro with­out be­ing mobbed” – and he’s look­ing for­ward to an­other Faces re­union. “We hope to do some big shows,” he re­veals. “Ron­nie’s up for it, Rod and Ken­ney are up for it. Rod wants Steve Win­wood on key­boards. But it all re­volves around what Ron is do­ing with the Stones.” Robin Le Mesurier’s A Charmed Rock’n’Roll Life, pub­lished by Book Guild, is out now

“My par­ents tried to talk me out of rock’n’roll, but they couldn’t stop me” robin le mesurier

Carry on play­ing: Hat­tie Jac­ques with son robin le mesurier in 1974

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