Where does a group of people working as a team begin to find a collective name that they’re happy to live with? Each person has his own imagination and hopefully, vision.

This is where ART found themselves. Many suggestions were put forward for a name, most notable amongst them a couple from Guy Stevens, "Frosted Moses" and "Mott the Hoople" neither of which drew much enthusiasm from Messrs. Harrison, Ridley, Grosvenor, Wright and Kellie. They didn't know what they wanted, but definitely knew what they didn't want!

At one of their weekly meetings with Blackwell at the office in Oxford Street Gary produced a letter from a pal studying psychology at Harvard University. The letter included a list of possible band names. Gary had obviously mentioned the crisis in a recent letter to his friend. With the passage of time it is not clear what the selection included, but after much thought and discussion it became clear that both Gary and Blackwell thought "Spooky Tooth" was suitably unusual as to be a solution.

It is important to remember that Island was about to be launched with "Traffic" and the as yet un-named "other band", both of whom were recording their debut albums. There was a feeling of frustration that Winwood and Co. had found the perfect name as well as having a much clearer vision of who they were. Possibly known as the "why didn't WE think of that?" syndrome.... and in that light Wright and Blackwell convinced the other four that "Spooky Tooth" was the one, at which point Blackwell put the corporate wheels in motion to plan the launch of his other band. Rehearsals were at the Pied Bull public house in Islington, run by Mr & Mrs Collins who, over the next few weeks would come to look upon the band as extended family. A stage show, including songs to be recorded for the album, was gradually put together, and any confirmation the members needed that they were heading in the right direction was to come from Muff Winwood sent along as office representative to see how things were progressing. Muff, a really hard man to impress, seemed overjoyed with what he saw and heard, which definitely boosted the bands confidence.

Olympic Studios 1&2 became the bands new "home from home" and with producer Jimmy Miller they began to work on song selection, arranging and recording the album to be know as "It's All About". There was still a feeling in the band of everyone wanting to have a share in writing but it was becoming an inescapable reality that only Gary was driven to WORK at writing songs and even he had trouble writing fast enough! There were always covers. Gary came up with a track from an album he’d heard by Janis Ian. The song was Society's Child. Also suggested was the Dylan song "Too Much of Nothing". Luther Grosvenor had come up with an original entitled "Bubbles" which, being very catchy, was Spooky Tooth's answer to Traffic's "Hole in My Shoe" It was a childlike look into the mind expanding fashion of the time. The Lou Rawls classic "Evil Woman", which on stage was to become a monster sometimes lasting 30 minutes was also included. Skeletons, mainly from Gary, were worked on with Miller, very much part of the creative process, encouraged by his brief from Blackwell to get the band a hit single with which to launch the album. "Straight Down to the Bottom", which is exactly where it went and "Love Really Changed Me" are two examples. However, "Sunshine Help Me" the song that had first caught Blackwell’s ear, was recorded and became even more obviously the front runner for first official Spooky Tooth single.

The Spooky Tooth sound was developing during this time. Gary's Hammond organ on one side of the stage and Mike Harrison on the other sitting nervously behind his new Baldwin electric harpsichord with Ridley, Kellie and Grosvenor positioned between the two. It was a powerful sound with much light & shade creating a perfect backdrop for the contrasting voices of Harrison and Wright. Gary brought with him a taste for rich, almost orchestral workings in melody and production which is another example of the bands work. The heavy syrup of VIP's no holds barred blues/rock and Wright's sweet Young Rascals American dream music became a powerful mix. In fact the Spooky Tooth version of "How Can I be Sure?" sadly never recorded, showed how well the two sides met. "There I Lived", co-written with Miller, was also an orchestral type production and put the pained voice of Harrison in a completely new environment.

The launch of the band took place at The Speakeasy in London's Margaret Street. A showcase gig it marked the beginning of a round of English club dates which were to be the bedrock of the Spooky Tooth legend. The year was now (early) 1968.

Copyright Control Mike Kellie 2012

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