Re­newed At­tack!

Davy O’List – one-time gui­tarist for Floyd, Roxy and The Nice – ex­plains why he’s re­form­ing ‘60s freak­beat band The at­tack

UNCUT - - Instant Karma! - ROB HUGHES The At­tack play HRH Prog fes­ti­val in Pwll­heli on Novem­ber 17

As with most en­tries on his im­pres­sive CV, Davy O’List makes the re­cent re­vival of his cult ’60s he­roes The At­tack sound like a happy ac­ci­dent. “Universal Mu­sic’s Jonny Chandler got on the bus and sat next to me,” O’List ex­plains. “He said, ‘Why don’t you re­form The At­tack?’ I hadn’t thought about it, but it sounded like a good idea.”

O’List promptly got in touch with The At­tack’s old key­boardist, Bob Hodges, and set about form­ing a new it­er­a­tion of the band he co-founded with the late Richard shir­man in 1966. Orig­i­nally man­aged by the fear­some Don Ar­den, The At­tack is­sued a string of freak­beat sin­gles on Decca – the pick be­ing O’List’s thrilling “Any More Than I Do” – in their short but mem­o­rable life­span. “We were gig­ging all the time, but there was no money in it,” says the gui­tarist, who quit to form The Nice in ’67. “I got a call from Keith Emer­son to say he was putting to­gether a band. I told Keith about want­ing to use clas­si­cal el­e­ments to cre­ate some­thing new. An­drew Loog Old­ham at Im­me­di­ate liked the idea very much and put us in the stu­dio to make an al­bum.”

O’List is one of the more mer­cu­rial fig­ures in rock lore. softly spo­ken and

mod­est, his ex­ploits out­weigh the force of his per­son­al­ity. His ten­ure with The Nice spanned psych-prog de­but The Thoughts Of Emerlist

Dav­jack and a se­ries of ma­jor dates, in­clud­ing a pack­age tour with the Jimi Hen­drix Ex­pe­ri­ence, Pink Floyd, The Move and Amen Cor­ner. “syd Bar­rett was a quiet guy,” he re­calls. “He’d get on the coach and never talk to any­one. When the tour got to Liver­pool Em­pire

[18 Novem­ber, 1967] I went off to find the Cav­ern and Pink Floyd were in my dress­ing room when I re­turned. They told me syd had gone for a walk and hadn’t come back, and they wanted me to fill in for him. Luck­ily I’d been watch­ing the Floyd ev­ery night and knew ex­actly what to play on stage.”

Af­ter leav­ing The Nice the fol­low­ing year, he briefly played with Jethro Tull, The Mis­un­der­stood and, in 1971, an early in­car­na­tion of Roxy Mu­sic. “I put an ad in Melody Maker,” he says. “Bryan Ferry rang me up and said, ‘I’ve been look­ing for you. We’ve been turned down by ev­ery­body. They don’t like our songs and don’t think we’re com­mer­cial. Will you pro­duce and write for us and get us a deal?’ so that’s what I did. But it didn’t work out af­ter that, un­for­tu­nately. We were billed as ‘Roxy Mu­sic fea­tur­ing Davy O’List’ on gig posters and I think they got fed up with the idea of me be­ing pushed for­ward like that, even though I didn’t ask them to. Also, Bryan and Eno wanted to be the cen­tral fig­ures and felt it would be bet­ter if they didn’t have a ‘name’ per­son in the band.”

O’List went on to join Jet and play in John Cale’s band for 1977’s “An­i­mal Jus­tice” tour, be­fore be­com­ing a painter, sculp­tor and film­maker. His re­turn to the record­ing stu­dio for 2015’s Sec­ond Thoughts was prompted by his head of depart­ment at the Univer­sity Of Green­wich, where he was teaching film and mul­ti­me­dia: “He said, ‘What are you do­ing teaching? Go and make an al­bum!’” With fresh solo out­ing The Fu­ture

Is Wild due out in spring, and the ref­or­ma­tion of The At­tack for live shows, O’List has now come full cir­cle on an un­usu­ally colour­ful ca­reer. “It has been,” he re­flects, with some un­der­state­ment, “a great ad­ven­ture.”

“Pink Floyd told me that Syd had gone for a walk and hadn’t come back”

The At­tack in 1967: (l-r) Richard Shir­man, Davy O’List, Peter ‘Bar­ney’ Barn­field, Bob Hodges and Gerry Hen­der­son

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