When I moved to London, which is a story so complex and difficult that I shall tell it at a different time, I left behind ThirtyOne, which by this stage had begun to disintegrate. My departure signalled a painful end to what had been an extremely promising band, and my confidence was not what you’d describe as high.
Though I’d spent my life in bands and would continue to do so, the desire to be out front being the main man had left me, and I longed for a less precious role in my musical proceedings. Michael, with whom I had played for many years before, advised me that Henry, the bassist of his band, Conundrum In Deed, was leaving, and did I fancy the gig? I thought about it for a few seconds before saying yes, tooling myself up with a cheap bass, and learning their album, Gentlemen, which was in the process of being completed.
Aside from being the context in which I met Tom, who would later be part of the Strange Deeds triumvirate, Conundrum was my first gig on bass since The Paperback Throne, which was also the first band in which I sang harmony. Henry was a superb bassist, an eager, nimble young man who had grown up listening to prog almost exclusively, and whose raw talent had supped at the fountain of Chris Squire. Taking up his weaving Rickenbacker lines on my somewhat-less-subtle Stingray was a task, and it was to my own amazement that I could get anywhere near them.
I sang backing on this record, taking up full bass and second vocal duties on the next, Travelling House, though I sadly do not have a link to that.
Despite the extremely poor split of the band that occurred after this, and the subsequent ill feeling, I am able to stand outside of it, and see it as a record that did not belong to its’ time, being pitched somewhat further back than the period in which it was recorded. Nevertheless, of my time in Conundrum In Deed I am proud, though I truly wish it had ended differently.